Since school just ended last Friday, I’m giving my kids this week off from any worries about school work, but after that, we’ll be slowly working our way through our summer packets for school. My 3 elementary students have packets for math and language arts. They also need to read a book and write a report. The high school student needs to read a nonfiction book on Transcendentalism and fill in a chart in preparation for his first essay in English class next fall.
I remember the days when summer meant summer. Sure, my mom would take me to the library, a lot (did I mention my voracious appetite for reading). The rest of the time we played outside or went to summer camp for the day. Since my parents worked full-time, our vacations were spent at the shore visiting my grandparents at their motel.
Now we continue to practice math and reading skills during the summer to ensure students haven’t lost ground when they re-enter school in the fall. If you don’t have a required packet of work for your kids from their teachers, you can still have them practice skills for about 10 to 15 minutes a day during the summer. Last summer, we used 5 minutes of that time for daily math drills which helped my 1st and 3rd graders with their math facts when school rolled around.
Keeping the adventure in learning
Commit to reading one book daily to your kids.I’ll be honest; this is where I struggled the most during the school year. My hope is to get the habit back in place this summer. Most picture books take about 10 to 15 minutes. Take your kids to the library, ask them what their favorite subject is, and find the books in the card catalog. Pull a few history books, add in fiction books at their level, and a few classics above their level and you’ll be set for at least 3 weeks.
Start a summer adventure journal.Whatever your family plans to do this summer, keep a record of it in a family adventure journal. If you take pictures of a trip, include a few of them on a page, and ask the kids to write down their favorite memories from the trip. Maybe they want to start a list of their favorite car games, or write down recipes they want to make. If you plan on traveling to another state, include a map in the front of the journal and mark the states you go through. Your kids could figure out how many miles you travel for each trip and the entire summer. Is it enough to go around the world?
Use iPad game apps for practicing math and reading.There are so many fun iPad apps available for free! I’ll tell you a secret; I don’t upgrade to the paid app. I just find another one. When we use up all the free iPad game apps (probably never), I’ll search the web for free apps for kids. I’m sure Scholastic and other websites have some great ones.
- Mad Libs
- Motion Math: Hungry Fish – add or subtract different combinations of numbers
- Snail Bob – sequencing
- Juicy Math – multiplication and division
- Last year’s suggested resources for summer academics
- Cooking with Kids for math fun
- Family Day Trip Ideas
- Nature Study
- Classical Music and Kids