Summer is almost here. Yay!! The artwork and school projects are coming home from the classrooms in a steady stream. And the countdown is on.
I know it’s a time for camps and sleeping in. A time for late nights and endless splashing around in the sprinklers but I’m still incorporating some (just a bit) of learning through the summer months. Yes, this is when the “soft tiger mom” in me comes out and it’s a nice balance especially when some of those long summer days become the endless repetition of “mom, I’m bored.”
When my boys were really young, I would get activity books from the local bookstore …fun stuff like number mazes and word searches. Now that my younger one is 8 years old, we continue to work in about 5 minutes worth of math sheets each day. Really, when you position it as 5 minutes a day…it’s really not a big deal, is it? He actually loves math as much as he loves soccer, so he often gets right into it and all of the sudden it turns into 15 minutes activity.
We’ve always had quiet time for reading during the hottest hours of the day. There’s always art projects and Lego building that are also great for keeping their minds active. We take the opportunity to explore our favourite parts of the city revisiting museums, galleries and we’ll head down to Kensington Market several times to find different fruits or vegetables and bring them home to do some research on what dishes to make with them.
It’s really easy to incorporate some learning and there is no shortage of research that will tell you that it’s important to keep it up during the summer vacation months. So, when the fall rolls around again, it’s not too much of a shock when they head back into the classrooms.
A national survey was recently released that showed that almost 65% of Canadian parents do not include any learning activities in their family’s summer plans. (conducted by Leger Marketing for Oxford Learning). In fact, the breakdown shows this …
- Spending time with family (36%)
- Relaxing (13%)
- Socializing (13%)
- Summer Camps (12%)
- Travelling (11%)
- Exercise (8%)
- Reading and Learning Activities (4%)
“The results of this survey reinforce that when it comes to summer learning, parents are not thinking long term — they are not considering what a summer without learning means to their child’s academic performance next year, and that’s a big problem,” says Dr. Nick Whitehead, president of Oxford Learning. “Summer is a critical time for students. When they don’t maintain their academic momentum over the summer months, they fall behind, and quite often, they don’t catch up again.”
So how do parents prevent the summer slide?
- Encourage your children to keep reading! Reading continually improves comprehension skills and develops vocabulary. Get kids their own library card and go to the library every weekend so they can pick their own reading material or give them a digital literacy boost with e-Readers for kids!
- Summer movies can also help reel in unwilling readers. A summer release may draw children into reading the accompanying book series.
- Give your child a journal or scrapbook and encourage them to write. Tech savvy kids can create and update their own blog.
- Limit screen time. Balance media consumption with reading time. Books are recreation as much as video games, surfing the Internet, or watching TV. Variety and balance is key!
- Play games such as Sudoku or crossword puzzles. Any game with strategy and planning is great to keep the mind working. Find ways to challenge children’s minds!
- Enrol your child in a class such as Oxford Learning Summer Programs that help ensure that students of all ages spend time exploring, discovering, creating and learning.
“Oxford Learning’s summer programs ensure that your child’s break from school is not a break from learning,” says Dr. Whitehead. “Learning is a part of life, not just a part of school. By attending our summer learning programs, students head back to school informed, motivated, and ready to hit the ground running.”
By the way, Oxford Learning has a Summer Reading challenge. You can find out all about it at their website oxfordlearning.com/summerreading
Trust me, I’m all for sleeping in! So, do you encourage your kids to continue learning during the summer months, even just a little bit?
This post was not sponsored, nor was I compensated.