School’s Out! There are few things a child says with more excitement. The summer vacation break can be a great time, full of fun and relaxation.
It is also, unfortunately, a time when most children can lose between one and three months worth of knowledge.
It is common for the first six weeks of any new school year to be spent reviewing things that have been forgotten from the previous year.
While the debate over extending the school year to 12 months continues, you can take steps to minimize the amount of knowledge your child loses over the summer vacation. It is as simple as seeing that your child’s brain gets “knowledge” food, instead of the equivalent of mental “junk” food.
You have a wonderful ally in your local public library. Generally before the school year ends, they have information on their activities for the summer ready, along with a summer reading program.
Most summer reading programs offer incentives in the form of small prizes along the way, together with larger prizes and a party at the end. Consider adding your own incentives as well.
The librarians at your local public library can help you and your child choose appropriate books—books that are interesting and at an appropriate reading level. Encourage your child to read books that are challenging, but also allow them to read books at or slightly below their current reading level.
This keeps reading fun and will encourage them to read more. Look for books that are similar to or based on popular summer movies or your child’s hobbies.
You can also consider having your child write a short story or book of their own. There are a number of free writing prompts available online.
If you are planning a vacation this summer, have your child do some research about the area where you will be staying. You can also have them flex their math muscles by doing some comparison shopping on lodging, and mileage using various routes.
Try listening to books on tape during long car or plane rides. Planning a visit to the beach? Try reading a book about marine animals. With a little imagination, you can turn almost any outing into an educational opportunity. If you need help, try doing an online search for “lesson plans” or “unit studies” on a particular topic.
The most important thing you can do to keep your child learning during the summer is to participate in educational activities with your child as well as by yourself. When you do this, you show your child that you value education and learning.