Research has shown that students lose one to three months of learning over the summer each year with the biggest loss being in math skills. Perhaps because there is such a plethora of reading programs available? Either way, kids lose important academic skills over the summer which makes September all that much harder on students, teachers and parents.
There are workbooks and tutors available but it's not always a priority for students to spend their days filling out worksheets and for some families, the cost and time commitment for a private tutor is out of the question.
There are still ways to keep your kids learning over the summer though.
Thanks to Academic All Star Tutoring, which specializes in one to one tutoring and test prep services for the Northwest suburbs, here are some tips to keep kids learning while they are doing things they are already doing this summer.
1. Create a Bored Jar: Have your kids brainstorm ideas that they can do without parental help and place them in the jar for when you hear "I'm Bored!" In our house, the word bored is code for give me some chores.
2. Children's Book Club: Many libraries have book club packages for elementary and middle school students that include multiple copies of a book and a discussion guide available for check out. Put together a small group of friends that should be at or around the same reading level and have the kids meet to discuss the book once done reading. An adult will have to help facilitate discussion but this is something that could be done within one's neighborhood.
3. Geocaching: There are a lot of places in Minnesota to geocache but don't just take my word for it, the Minnesota DNR has lots to say about it. This activity will help your kids read maps, problem solve AND experience the great outdoors!
4. Lemonade Stand: If your kids are like mine, the idea of hosting a lemonade stand has been on their minds since the last day of school but with a little bit of pre-planning you can make this an educational activity. Here are a couple ways your kids can work on their math skills without even realizing it:
-Measuring the lemonade and the water.
-Estimating ahead of time how many cups and how much lemonade will be needed.
-Determining how much money to start with to make change.
-How much money should each cup cost to cover the costs of the lemonade and cups and also make a profit?
-Giving back change.
-Finally, most important if working with others, splitting the profit fairly.
5. Gardening Contest: Our family planted our very first garden this year and it's been so fun to go and check on how things are coming in each day. You could have a contest with neighbors who also have a garden or even do some estimating on how big your zucchini might be or how much your pumpkin will weigh and how many tomatoes might you see.
6. Travel Agent, Jr.: Vacations take a lot of planning and usually a fair amount of money too. Let your child do some research and planning. If you are driving somewhere, have them figure out how many miles will be driven, how many gallons of gas will be needed and an estimated gas expense. If you're flying, have them look at the different costs of flying and how layover might affect ones trip.