Summer is almost here! For many families, the summer brings a welcome pause from the routines established throughout the year. Strictly business for 9 months of the year, strictly sunshine for the other 3 months. But hold on a second – just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean the routine needs to fall-off completely, does it?
At Kumon, we take summer learning seriously. We even have words to describe what happens when kids take an educational hiatus in the sunny months. The summer ‘slow-down’. The “summer slide”. “Summertime Set-back”. Too much of a break from learning may create pronounced difficulties in September when they return to the challenges and routine of school.
A parent’s summer plan to keep math and reading skills sharp may be a deciding factor in the success of the future school year. And, with a little guidance, this kind of plan is easy to execute!
Kumon recommends the following checklist to help keep your child’s academic skills right on track:
- Computation: Keep the Math Brain Fresh with Daily Calculations
- Comprehension: Don’t Stop Reading in the Summer!
- Routine: School Stops in the Summer, but Life Continues
- Organization: Summer Could be the Perfect Time to Get your Ducks in a Row
Keep the Math Brain Fresh with Daily Calculations
This is something we talk about all the time at Kumon. Learning is something that can happen at any time during the day!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Let your child keep a daily log of bike riding, or calculate the tip on a restaurant bill.
- When grocery shopping, encourage him or her to help you comparison shop and calculate price differences.
- Ask your child to help you with cooking or baking and get them involved with the measurements.
- Let your child tally the discount you’ll receive with grocery coupons and calculate the change.
The ideas are endless. Just start to think about all the daily errands you run in the summertime with your kids – could there be a few math angles hidden there?
Don’t Stop Reading in the Summer!
Think about your child and their approach to reading. If the only reason they read a book is because it was assigned to them as homework, they may not see the value or enjoyment in reading. In the summer, this could make for 3 full months of reading stagnation.
To overcome this, try choosing a challenging book that you and your child will read and discuss together. There’s more free time in the summer, and books can be taken with you everywhere you go. Keep the challenge high but the stress low! A child that loves to read is a child that loves to learn.
Provide a selection of reading materials that focus on summer fun as well as your child’s interests, such as comics, special interest magazines, short stories, almanacs, maps and/or websites. Don’t be afraid to get your kids involved in the process. Pretty soon, they’ll be way ahead of you, picking out books for months to come!
School Stops in the Summer, but Life Continues
As parents, it’s always a great idea to establish a pro-active routine for your kids. You want your children to feel that they are doing things of their own volition, not because an authority figure it forcing them to do so.
There are many ways to keep a healthy routine going in the summer. If you aren’t already enrolled, consider a structured reading and/or math program such as year-round Kumon. Twenty to thirty minutes of daily practice will help your child become more disciplined while improving his or her academic skills. Joining a program like this will also make the transition from summer back into the school year much easier.
Summer Could be the Perfect Time to Get your Ducks in a Row
There’s a big bunch of time that has opened up in your child’s schedule now that summer is upon us. That time could be used however you want – so why not try using it wisely? Ask your children to spend a little time each day on organization-based activities. At the end of the summer, take note and see if there is a change in your child’s behaviour.
To execute this, try preparing a summer calendar of events and post it in a central location in your home. Provide colourful markers for your child to record his or her activities on the calendar for the week. Cooperation is key. Your child will be much more receptive to a few learning activities if you keep him or her involved in summer planning and decisions.