Prevent Your Children From Falling Behind in School This Summer
Children spend the majority of their young lives learning. And there is a lot to learn. In the beginning it comes naturally. Kids pick up on so much just from living and being around their parents and other children. But once they hit school age it becomes a little more difficult for them. At least for most kids. Learning to read, write and do math problems is hard. As they get older they need to learn even more.
Every child looks forward to summer vacation and as a parent I have to agree with them. I look forward to lazy summer days too. But children can lose a lot of the information they learned over the three month summer break. On the Sylvan Learning website it states "after a month without reinforcement, approximately 80 percent of the information a student recently learned can be lost unless the new information is reinforced or applied immediately." Wow!I had no idea it was that much.
Can you imagine what teachers have to deal with in the fall when the kids come back remembering nothing from the previous year? My guess is that you don't want your child to forget everything they learned. That can be so frustrating for the child, parents and teachers and it can't be good for your child. But what can you do? As a former homeschooler and wife of a teacher I can tell you that there is plenty you can do.
The first thing you should do, regardless of age, is make sure your child reads every day. This will keep the ability to read, as well as grammar and proper writing enforced in their minds. Try to get them to write some too. I know computers and email are the most popular ways to write, but that isn't what children need. I have found that having them write letters is a great way to reinforce writing. Usually they get a letter in return and that keeps them excited about it.
Speaking of computers, use them this summer. Kids love to play computer games and there are plenty of free educational ones available. StarFall is one of my favorites for younger kids. If you would rather have them work math on paper there is a great site called The Math Worksheets that has hundreds of create your own printables. You can customize it based on what your child is working on. There are even sites that you can print grammar worksheets from as well. Some schools, mine included, sell workbooks based on grade level for the children to complete over the summer. This is supposed to be all they need to stay at that grade level in the fall.
Summer can also be a time for your child to learn something new or reinforce something they need more help in. Tutoring is an option for kids that really need help in a particular area or were behind in school. But parents can help a lot too. Summer learning doesn't have to require a tutor. I prefer to make summer learning very casual, but some kids need the stricter daily structure of a schedule. Handle it anyway that works for your child, just make sure you do it.
I like using a sticker chart to keep track of summer learning and offer rewards. While we will have a daily reading time after lunch the other things we will be doing will not be on a set time schedule. My kids will be required to do math sheets, as well as work on typing and Spanish on the computer. They will be responsible for doing that on their own and marking it down. At the end of each month I am planning a fun reward for everyone who completes the requirements. This gives them some control over summer learning while still making sure it happens.
If you don't want your child to fall behind this summer and forget 80% of what they learned last year then take some time to set some guidelines and make sure that learning continues in the midst of lots of relaxation and fun. You can make it fun, it won't take a lot of work and it will benefit your child tremendously in the new school year.