The kids are out for the summer! For some people this brings excitement and for others it brings fear. Some parents really fear facing their own children because they simply don’t know what to do with them. I don’t want that to be you so listen up!
Today’s post is going to help you keep your kids engaged in learning even if you do it do not have them in an enrichment camp. Parents are the first teachers so let me help you look like a master teacher mmmmk?
The first tip is to identify where your child struggled all year. Was it behavior? Math? Writing? This needs to be your area of focus in helping them learn to master what they missed. Some parents keep pushing in prepping for the next grade but we have to address first where the struggle was because the beginning of the school always starts with a review and assessment of learning. This still gives your child an opportunity to display mastery before moving on academically.
To help address the weaker areas help your child simply review. I’m an advocate for songs and YouTube is the bomb. Find a song for the standard. Water cycle? There’s a song for that. Division strategy? Song for that! Grammar? Songs those too! Find it, sing, dance. Your child will remember you whipping to the strategy with them all summer long.
The second tip is to teach up. Once you’ve done your review it’s time to teach up. This means make the work rigorous. Yes it’s summer but familiarize them with work they will see in the upcoming school year. The teacher showing it shouldn’t be the first time your child sees it. Even if you have them read a two page article about Ceaser Chavez because you saw him on the Social Studies standards for the next year. Your summer work doesn’t need to be elaborate but should be introductory.
If the teacher asks “Class does anyone know who or what XYZ is?” Your child should be able to raise their hand and say yes. Then let the teacher expand the learning. You’re giving your baby what we call prior knowledge and your child’s teacher will love you for it. It’s the first step on the ladder to success and mastery. This produces high levels of confidence and competence for your child because they have some sort of foundation to begin with.
The third tip is to make it fun. Remember it is still summer. It doesn’t have to be structured, make learning fun! Plan museum trips, download fun computer games, order learning board games on Amazon, create games. I’m personally using lapbooks and interactive notebooks with my kids this summer. We’re also going to be using those tablets and phones they love so much!
Let your kid make a video commercial explaining a new strategy or who a historical figure was. Let them write a poem or rap. We are project based learners in our house and my kids love it and retain information better with them. I’m sure yours will appreciate incorporating the fun as well. Google “ways to assess learning” and pick what works for your family.
My fourth tip is to track growth. Even over the summer, track how your baby is doing. Most kids have 9-12 weeks out for the summer, that’s a semester in school. Your child comes home with a progress report and report card during that time. How are you tracking growth at home? Something as simple as the first week of summer I gave you this multiplication sheet and you got 10/30 right now on week five you’re getting 25/30 correct. Our goal is 30/30 correct by the last week! Tracking growth builds your child’s confidence that yes they are still growing and meeting their goals.
Lastly give rewards. Reward the progress, the efforts, the challenges, and the change. Reward it all because your child will continue to do what they know you love, no matter how old. Even if it’s ice cream, a trip to the movies, ordering something on Amazon (yes we order a lot of Amazon 😂), or spending time together playing as a family, bring it all back to affirming your child. They need it from you because you’re the parent. The teacher may not be doing it at school and I firmly believe all children need to be affirmed and looked it the eye and told ” I knew you could do it! I’m so proud of you! I can’t wait to see what you can do next!” DAILY.
Don’t overthink this. Review the state learning standards for your child’s upcoming grade level here: http://www.corestandards.org
Make a quick checklist of what you can realistically cover over the summer, aim for five areas under each subject. Then see what your state or any city you’re traveling to offers. Can they do math at the park? Visit a museum in NY? Use math to bake cookies with grandma?
Keep them focused, keep it fresh, keep it fun! Happy Summer 😀😀.
Question: How are you keeping your kids engaged in learning this summer?