July 1, 2022
I won’t bore you with a bunch of science and data, but I will tell you that there is a lot that exists to support the summer slide theory. If you aren’t familiar with what that is, it is scientific evidence that kids that take the summer off without doing any kind of work not only lose many skills they had already learned, but can fall further behind than when they started the prior school year.
Wait! Don’t panic and put them into tutoring programs all summer just yet!
I’ve got a few tips to share that can help keep this from happening with about an hour a day 5 days a week.
Now, if they are behind or have a true disability, a tutoring program may be a good idea, but think about it and research carefully–you want to choose something that won’t make learning harder. Find one that helps them learn how to learn and makes it as fun, or at least stress-free, as possible.
BRIDGE WORKBOOKS These are books that have skills broken down and help review what they learned the grade prior and transition into skills they will learn in the upcoming grade. Most are only about 15 minutes a day and focus on a couple subjects at a time, rotating the core subjects. I prefer the Summer Bridge series since it has tracking sheets and stickers (for your external reward kiddos) and crafts and projects to you, as well as flash cards. They are sold in lots of places, but we find ours on Amazon.
We’ve done these since preschool and now going into 6th with my youngest; we also did these for my oldest who is now a college graduate and working full time. I’ll never forget after the first week of his freshman year of high school and first summer without the workbooks (they stop going into high school), he said he actually missed them and felt behind. He’s very supportive of his younger brother doing them and raves about how much they helped.
FLASHCARDS AND GAMES These can be found in lots of locations and can be a great way to go through items quickly and choose what skill you are covering. I like this method for a variety of ages and skill levels since everyone gets a chance to work together.
WEBSITES You can find a variety of both free and subscription websites that can fit your child’s needs. Most are self-guided and have a tracking system. Many school districts have some they prefer that fit their programs or are part of the curriculum they use at school, so a subscription is included. I would suggest starting there.
TUTORING There are a variety of tutoring companies, as well as private tutors or college students you can find to have that one on one aspect for your child to learn best if this isn’t your area. This may be the most expensive option, but helping a college student home for the summer means you can help each other out.
STUDY GROUP If your child has friends from class, or if your circle of friends has children, this could be a great way to get time together to build skills and get some social time. Rotating houses once a week can share the load, especially by incorporating learning time with fun activities like crafts, water play, movie days, baking.
SUMMER PROGRAMS For many families that don’t have a parent or family member to be home with them all summer, or that choose camps for socializing, you can also make sure they are including academics in their day, too. If your main camp doesn’t, don’t be afraid to find a week long experience or immersion camp to rotate in and that focuses on your child’s interests. Local zoos, gardens, museums and parks often have programs available.
VIRTUAL SCHOOL Most states have a virtual school district that offers classes to students that go to other schools during the year, and if you are a resident of the state, it is often free! I know here in Florida, FLVS offers a Flex program and students can take core or elective classes and work at their pace, work a summer pace, or finish in as little as 14 days. The best part is they offer a variety of classes that may not be available at your school.
EXTEND HOME SCHOOL If you are already doing home school, you can choose to slow your prior year curriculum or start your next year curriculum early, and just work at a slower pace.
DAILY READING We incorporate additional leisure reading into our routine, with a minimum of 20 minutes daily. A summer reading list is often available at your school or local library. You can plan weekly trips to the library to swap books or visit a Little Free Library near you. In addition to the libraries, we also like to give ours a budget and go to the local secondhand bookstores or a big boxstore bookstore and let them go shopping, with the idea of choosing things they will enjoy reading more than once. We have found many a great series this way! A money saving tip for this is to go in with friends so they can rotate the books and maybe even have a book club to talk about them. If the book happens to be a movie, plan a movie night. If they are a struggling reader, watch the movie first to help with grasping the theme, names and imagery that will strengthen their skills when they read it–challenge them to find the differences between the two.
LIFE SKILLS Never underestimate the power of learning from life. Include them in grocery shopping, meal planning, cooking, budgeting, paying bills, scheduling appointments, car maintenance, home maintenance, vacation planning, purchasing back to school supplies. Letting them see how they will use what they are learning in a real life setting can be the best teacher and connect skills, reinforcing them and placing into long term memory. And it can be a fun way to bond.
Set aside a little time each day to work. It can vary from day to day and you can give older or responsible kids control of when they do their work. Even if you start these late in the summer, every little bit helps.
workbooks flashcards groups websites extend home school virtual school classes
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