First off, finishing this unprecedented school year was _______ (you fill in the blank).
There may be several words that immediately come to mind. No judgement here, but you survived. Yea, YOU! You definitely deserve a summer of family, fun, and don’t forget some relaxation, that is a must. ICYMI, contributor Lindsay’s post, Good Riddance, 2020-2021 Pandemic School Year: Thanks for Everything, summed up many of our feelings about this weird school year.
As a former teacher in the East Valley, I remember being just as excited as my students as the school year began wrapping up, and now as a parent I can see things from a new perspective.
We’re excited for a break from those crazy long school pick-up lines, homework, and packing lunches, but also might start worrying about the dreaded “summer slump.”
The educator in me knows how much work that teachers, parents, and students work to grow academically during the school year. But also, the mom is me knows how hard it can be to add even more to your plate.
Keeping it simple is my jam, so don’t you worry. I’ve put together three super easy activities that can keep your kids from dipping too far into that summer slump.
Read, Read, and Read some more
In my most loving teacher voice, “If you’re going to pick one, PLEASE let this one be it!” No matter what age your children are, reading is one of the most beneficial things you can do with them through the summer.
While searching for some local summer reading programs I saw this quote about the correlation between reading and summer learning loss.
“When young people aren’t engaged in educational activities during the summer, they experience learning loss. Reading just 5 books over the summer can prevent summer learning loss.” (www.mesalibrary.org)
My littles are 5 and almost 2 so they are not able to independently read. Our reading time looks a lot like me doing the all reading aloud. This gives me the opportunity for modeling expression and inflection when reading out loud to them, making predictions about what will happen next, and discussing new vocabulary.
If you DO have an independent reader it might be a good idea to introduce a new book series, or find some books about topics they’ve shown a natural interest in an check out some books at your closest library.
Most city libraries are back in operation, and they offer the county-wide summer reading program where kids can earn pretty good prizes for reading!
Interactive Websites for those Tech Savvy Students
Screen time doesn’t always have to be bad. In the past, I’ve had students who would pass on their extra recess time just to “play” on some of these sites. There are so many great websites out there, but here are some of my personal favorites.
- Math: www.prodigygame.com
My former students absolutely LOVED this site. Hop onto their site to create a free account and even a parent account so you can track your child’s growth and progress through email alerts.
- Langauge Arts:
www.readwritethink.org This site is full of great stuff, and there is a lot to comb through. Fortunately, you can filter by grade and find a standards based lesson your kids can work on at home depending on what they may need extra support in.
- Science/Social Studies:
www.kids.nationalgeographic.com and www.brainpop.com What I love about both of these websites is how interactive they are. They are user friendly, age-appropriate, and full of interesting things.
Keep it Classic: Pencil and Paper
Nothing is wrong with a traditional paper and pencil activity. There are workbooks that you can purchase to help with some daily or weekly practice.
You can purchase the grade level they just completed and use it as a great review or purchase the grade above for a challenge, but know they will most likely need extra support depending on the academic level.
Do what works for you, maybe plan for a page a day or create a packet and let them work at their own pace.
I’ve had a lot of luck finding activity books at Costco, but Amazon has some as well.
My last two cents on the these activities is to limit it to something that will only take them a few minutes a day, and PLEASE don’t use schoolwork as a punishment, I know it can be tempting.
Personally, I am getting ready to send off my first born to kindergarten and still trying to process that in itself. In our house we will be doing lots of reading, hopefully some trips to the library, and I am going to attempt some sight word flash cards. (Read in sarcastic Voice): I’m sure my daughter will thrilled with the idea of sight words.
Hopefully, there is something you can squeeze in this summer. These are all just suggestions for you to pick and choose from depending on your children and what works best for your family.
Above all else, and coming from a teacher, summer should be filled with fun and relaxation and not too much schoolwork, I’m a firm believer in learning through play, too. I wish you all the best summer and hope you’ve found a takeaway you can put to use to avoid the summer slump.