“Do you consider summer a break from school or a chance to get ahead?”
When my daughter was little, up until her teen years, sometimes she would visit my mom for a weekend. To her, nothing was better than an entire weekend of being spoiled by Grandma. Anyone who has had their child spend a weekend at Grandma’s house, knows that when you pick them up on Sunday afternoon, it’s just the beginning of two days of hell. I always said that for however many days my daughter would visit my mom, it took me that many days to get her back on a schedule and back to reality. After being indulged with sweets, treats, craft projects, staying up late, and not hearing the word “no” for 48 hours, it was a nasty return to a world of rules and chores.
I got to thinking about how this compares to students on vacation. The longer a vacation lasts, the longer it takes for students to return to the groove of classroom procedure, homework and simply being back on a schedule which includes educational obligations and expectations. Summer, of course, is the worst for this. Summer lag or regression is an enormous issue for a student and you would be amazed at how much they will forget, how much progress they lose and how they sometimes don’t recall the simplest skills taught in previous years. As a teacher, it is occasionally comical, but ultimately disturbing, to be told by a fifth grader that their teacher last year didn’t make them use capitals or punctuation. Trust me when I say even the most laid back, unconventional, 4th grade teacher, is requiring both proper capitalization and punctuation.
Last week I was visiting friends, and they have four children under the age of 14. School was already out for the summer and their parents had already determined that it was going to be a very long ten weeks without some sort of daily schedule for the kids…and having four children in camp all summer long is not very practical or economical. Imagine my excitement when they showed me the weekday schedule that the kiddos had to adhere to. The teacher in me was grinning from ear to ear. Each hour of the day was broken down into chore time, lunch, reading time, free time, snack, game time (no electronics), exercise, and Math skills practiced on-line. It was the Math part that really had me admiring my friends for their understanding of just how much information a child will “lose” over summer break. By having your son or daughter complete just an hour each summer weekday of Khan Academy, IXL, or any similar instructional math or reading site, they will be leaps and bounds ahead of their peers come school time. (Note: Parents should play an active role in what their child chooses for an “educational” math or reading site. Some are no more than games with just a little math or reading thrown in and that would not be helpful.)
Here are some helpful resources, but you can also do a Google search and come up with loads of educational sites for your child to use over the summer. For many of these resources, your child may already have a login set up through school, and they can continue to practice where they left off in June.
NY Public Library top 100 children’s books: https://www.nypl.org/childrens100