QCMB Note: This post is sponsored by this Saturday’s Lumberjack Festival in Clinton. Admission includes inflatables, pony rides, train rides, log rolling, carnival games. professional lumberjack competitions and more
When that last school bell rings, do your kids throw their backpack and books in the corner to grow dust until August or do you keep the kids learning and exercising their brains throughout the summer? I would love to spend the whole summer at the pool but I know if my kids don’t pick up a book for 3 months we will really be behind.
I have read so many articles about the summer learning gap and how children lose reading and math knowledge over the 3 months of summer vacation. I can completely see this. Last year after watching my girls struggle in school all year, I started putting together a “Summer Mommy Camp” program. I came up with a plan which included about 45 minutes to an hour of learning every day during the summer. With a little tweaking and search for fun new worksheets and activities, I am ready for a summer of fun AND learning to begin.
It’s pretty easy to incorporate some reading and math into our summer plans, but it was very important to make it fun too. We get our schoolwork done in the morning and then we can go swimming at the pool. Below I have listed a few of the ways I am continuing the learning even after the last day of school:
Workbooks – An easy way to keep the kids in the homework mode is picking up a few workbooks from any Walmart or Target or online. I buy these in mass for my children, but it is their least favorite thing to do. I think it reminds them to much of homework. So I also have used pinterest (what did I do before pinterest?) to find fun math coloring sheets, readings with comprehension questions, and fun extras. These workbooks are great to pack along if you are traveling and need to pass the time.
Books, Books and More Books – We love going to the library. Scouring the book stacks and keeping my kids from yelling across the library tends to be a bit stressful, but all my kids love going to the library and picking out their own books. I also use reading logs and prize incentives to keep them reading throughout the summer. There is something about receiving a coupon to “go to the movies” or “have a friend over” which motivates.
Math – This is the main reason I go to all the work of doing any school work all summer. Math is a subject that does not come easily to two of my children. I have spent many nights patiently working my girls step by step through math homework. We really concentrate on fractions, money, and flashcards over the summer. Playing monopoly is a great way to work with adding and subtracting money. We play many games of monopoly over the summer, taking turns being the banker. We also do a lot of flashcards. My kids love flashcards. Flashcards you say! Oh well, if you turn flashcards into a way to soak your mom with water balloons, then flashcards would be your favorite thing to do too. The way we do it, flashcards are played outside with swimsuits on and for every right answer you give you get a water balloon. For every 5 answers you get, you get a special water balloon to throw at momma. The kids think it is hilarious. Little do they know they are getting speedier at their math skills while breaking the water balloon on my head. For fractions, we spend time in the kitchen. The kids get to cook with mommy and do all the measuring and mixing. Fractions are also a good reason to make pie too. We can cut the pie into 1/2s, 1/4ths, 1/6ths, or 1/8ths, the yummy possibilities are endless!
Keeping a Journal – Writing in a journal is a great way for kids to keep up their writing skills all summer. They can keep track of all the fun things they do and see throughout the summer. My kids like to fill their journals about what they have eaten, who they can’t wait to get back to school to see, and how great their mommy is. Wink Wink.
Outside Help – Sometimes we need some help. With learning centers like Sylvan, tutors, and summer school, there are many outside sources where my children can get help throughout the summer. Two of my girls will be going to summer school this year and at first I was so emotional about it thinking I hadn’t done enough to help them through the year to prepare them for the next grade. My husband had to remind me that the school recognizes that the kids are behind and they will get them the extra help they need. The girls are excited about it and my son is bummed he doesn’t get to go.
You may all think I overdo it on the school work during the summer, but I am just a mom who sees their kids just hanging on at school and trying to keep up with their classmates. It’s tough to watch, when I only want them to succeed and grasp it. We won’t be doing work everyday and I am sure some days we will have fun plans and the homework will be pushed to the back burner. The important thing for me is to the have a plan to follow
How do keep your kids learning after the last bell has rung?