Teachers always tell us that no matter how well your child is doing in school at the end of the school year, they will probably regress over the summer.
Think about it. For 6-7 hours each school day, our children’s brains are engaged in learning, reading, or problem solving. They are working hard at specific tasks, taking direction, and trying their best to get a good grade. But once summer rolls around, their brains are usually more focused on TV and video games.
There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Our kids deserve a break.
But it’s a good idea to expect them to do some schoolwork over the summer so they don’t undo all the hard work they’ve put in during this school year. Here are a few ways to develop a good summer study schedule.
1. Don’t Try Too Hard
Harping on them from day one of summer break will only antagonize them and make them less inclined to do any work. If you make the schedule light and simple, they’ll be more prepared for it.
2. Make a Set Schedule
Ask yourself, how many days you want them to work, and for how long. Three mornings or afternoons a week for 20-30 minutes seems appropriate for younger kids. Older kids could do more.
3. Be Specific
Have specific items that you want them to work on, and have it all planned out before you sit them down in front of a notebook, workbook, or computer. The last thing they want to do is waste time.
4. Make It Interactive
Kids love computers and there are more learning and education websites than you can possibly imagine. Many school districts partner with one of more of these sites. Find out if your child can still access the site over the summer and, voila, you’ve got a learning portal at your fingertips, and theirs.
5. Always Encourage Reading
Reading and writing are two of the most important skills that your child can work on over the summer. Make sure you keep a steady stream of age-appropriate reading material in the house, either by purchasing books or by visiting the library. Once your child has read a book, ask them questions that will help them gain critical thinking skills. You could also ask them to write a few paragraphs about the story and show it to you.
6. Make It a Screen-Free Zone
There must be times when the computer, tablet, and TV are turned off. This is quiet time, reading time, or writing time. It’s good for everyone in the family!
7. Use Everyday Experiences to Teach Them
Since you’ll be spending more time with your kids this summer and, hopefully, taking more adventures together, use the time and surroundings to find teaching moments. Depending on your child’s age, you could work on counting, math, multiplication, reading, defining words, and problem solving. It just takes a little creativity.
8. Ask Their Teacher About Expectations
One thing to do is to talk to your child’s teachers about expectations for the next school year. Also, ask them if there are sections of the current textbooks or workbooks that your child could work on over the summer to get a head start on the next school year or simply reinforce what they’ve done this year.
9. Reward Them
If your kids are engaged and are doing a good job with your schedule, reward them. This will make them excited about getting the work done and give them something to look forward to.