If you’re a parent of a school-age child chances are you’ve heard of the “summer slide”. It’s what happens when kids forget what they learned all year long while they’re enjoying their summer vacation. Experiencing a summer slide can be discouraging and frustrating for both the parent and the child. However, there are things we can do, as parents, to support our children in their education while still allowing them to have the freedom to play over summer break.
I’ll admit, in the beginning of the summer I was all about keeping my kids on track for next school year. Honestly though, as we get deep into the trenches of outdoor activities and no bed time, having fun is more appealing than flash cards and reading comprehension.
However, with the 2018-2019 school year being only 1 month away, it’s time to get back to work! This is not to say my kids will be reciting multiplication tables 24/7, but I think we need to get back on board the learning train and revisit our daily routine.
With that said, here are some of the things I’ve started to do to get through the summer slide.
Schedule Reading & Set a Timer
“Mom, how long do I have to read for?” I get asked this question constantly! This is why I’ve not only started to actually schedule reading time into our day, but I’ve also set a timer so that they’re reading enough. We all know that kids and the concept of time are usually not BFFs. When they think they’ve been reading for 20 minutes, only 5 minutes have truly elapsed. But when you set a timer, your kids (and you) have proof of just how much time has passed.
Another tip – I also try to sit down and read when they do. This is for 2 reasons:
- I never have time to read so it’s a nice treat and some quiet time for me as well!
- This shows my kids that reading is important to me too. If they see me do it, it may make them want to do it more.
Commercial Break Math Facts
If we’re watching TV on the couch, I break out with math questions during the commercial breaks. By sneaking this math practice into their TV-watching they don’t think I’m being pushy or “annoying” and I’m successfully getting them to recall their math facts. I can usually squeeze in 10 per commercial break. I keep track and see if they can beat or match their score each time. They’re actually pretty receptive to it because it’s being done in such a casual fashion.
Real Life Math Problems
With the kids around 24/7 that means they’re with me while I’m shopping. As annoying as it can be to get asked if they can have something every 30 seconds, I try to sneak in some math along the way. When I pay and they see the price, I ask them to figure out (no cheating by looking at the cash register screen!) how much money I should be getting back. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, it gets their little minds turning which is the whole point.
Write About Your Favorite Activity
Because I work from home and my kids are home with me, I try to sneak in fun activities in between my work. In order to brush up on their writing skills, I ask them to write a paragraph about their favorite activity from the week – What did you do? Where did you do it? Who were you with? Why did you enjoy it? If you could do it again would you do anything differently? With these weekly writings, at the end of the summer they will have not only worked on their writing and spelling skills, but they’ll also have a nice memory book of our summer.
The key to avoiding kids from slipping into the summer slide is to sneak in educational activities with all of the summer fun activities. If you force kids to sit down in the summer and do worksheets or workbooks, they’re not going to be receptive. Trust me, I’ve tried that!
Give these tips a try and see how they work for your kids. Remember, we’re all in this together and every little bit of summertime school practice will only help to set them up for a successful start to the school year!
Written by: Kristina Cappetta
Edit, Design, & Graphics by: Jamie Schmalenberger
*Some photos provided by Freepik
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My name is John Haber. I’m a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the founder of Nogginsland. I became a COTA in 2003, and then went back to school much later, receiving my Master’s Degree in OT from Mercy College in New York in 2016.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of populations in different settings, from school districts, to developmental disability centers, to children’s hospitals.