As the days get warmer and longer, the last report cards are passed out and our kids start trading in their back packs for beach bags, the signs become inevitable – summer is upon us. As parents, it’s important that we help our children continue to learn during the summer months to ensure they don’t forget everything they’ve learned during the school year. According to the National Summer Learning Association, when kids take an absolute break from education during the summer months – whether by circumstance or design – they can lose up to two month’s worth of grade-level skills. Two months!
Help Your Kids Stay Smart
As the final days of the school year approach, you don’t need to be a teacher to help your children stay smart during the summer. You just need to make it fun and carve out time each day for educational activities that tap your child’s curiosity. Summer vacation is the perfect time to discover that learning is fun and can happen anywhere – not just in places called classrooms. Here are some things you can try as a mom:
Look for fun teaching resources that students can engage in anywhere, anytime. The Internet is a valuable tool that can be used year round especially during the summer months. Encourage your children to spend time on free educational web sites that allow for discovery, learning and exploration that are so much fun kids won’t even realize they’re learning.
Whether traveling far or staying close to home, scheduling a family outing or field trip is a perfect opportunity to expose children to new places, people, cultures, language, architecture and weather. Plus, there are a number of interactive and educational activities for children that parents can enjoy as well at places like parks, zoos, science centers, museums and concerts.
Day camps also provide hands-on learning beyond a traditional classroom setting. In each city, there are a number of summer camp options to choose from. Choose a program that incorporates some learning activities into the camp day. These activities should be offered in a way that encourages children and stresses fun while learning, rather than the drilling of academic facts.
Tips for Your Kids
Encourage your kids to keep a journal of their activities over the summer, ask your librarian for a list of suggested books to read or better yet direct them to safe, parent-approved Websites that offer interactive activities.
Also, remind your kids that the world is full of discovery. Educational resources like Champions Science Adventures take home science experiments and webisodes are filled with amazing science fun, facts and exciting footage like wild animals, explosions and magic. You’ll be surprised that your kids are so engaged while learning about science from home. Check them out at: http://www.scienceadventures.com.
Worksheets? Oh Please…
Remember you don’t have to resort to tedious worksheets or enroll your kids in summer school in order to keep their minds sharp. As long as you keep it simple, fun and stimulating you are doing your part to help prevent summer learning loss, while remembering to balance learning with fun.
About the Author
Janeal Roberts is the Vice President of Education for Champions