There’s a lot of talk these days about the “summer slide,” kids losing the skills they learned during the school year while on summer vacation. I’ll be honest. As a mom, I’ve never worried that my kids would somehow forget what they learned and start out in the fall behind where they ended in the spring. What does concern me, however, is that less than one week into summer vacation, the “What can I do”s have often begun.
My children absolutely love school from the daily structure to the fascinating lessons to the challenging projects. This year I decided to bring a little bit of school to our home by creating thematic projects for my children to work on through the summer. I began by asking each child to select a theme – sports for Noah and the horses of Chincoteague for Emma – and then created summer learning projects around each theme.
Idea One: Noah just finished first grade and loves all things sports. To keep him engaged with learning this summer, I created worksheets for him based on a magazine that chronicles the 2012-2013 college football season. The idea was to incorporate a variety of skills – reading comprehension, math, art – into one activity in order to sneak as much learning into one project as possible. For example, this week Noah was asked to answer questions about team records, create a bar graph comparing the number of wins for two teams, and then create a new team name complete with a logo and mascot.
Idea Two: Emma just finished third grade, so rather than create worksheets, I found a kid-friendly website about Chincoteague and sent her off with some maps, posterboard, and guidelines about next steps. While Noah is working on answering questions drawn from his magazine, Emma is conducting research and creating a report to share with the entire family. We’ve also asked her to create a route from our home to Chincoteague, and plan on finishing up the project with her by driving to see the horses she’s been studying.
Like Noah’s “assignment,” Emma’s project covers a variety of learning initiatives, but having her work on her own to include what she feels is important to her report also allows her a bit more creativity and control over her learning experience. The key is that both project ideas allow for the kids to learn more about subjects they enjoy and work at their own pace in those quiet moments when they would normally be asking, “What can I do now?”
For more ideas, visit Sylvan’s new blog, Mom Minded, a great resource for summer learning ideas, tips and tricks.
To celebrate National Learning Day, June 21st, Sylvan has provided a Random House book giveaway for Resourceful Mommy readers, which includes the following:
- A Day at The Seashore: Ages 3-7 ($3.99)
- Turtle in Paradise: Age 8 and Up ($7.99)
- The Year of Luminous Love: Teens/Adults ($16.99)
- Meant To Be: Teen/Adults ($17.99)
- All You Never Wanted: Teens ($16.99)
- Alex the Parrot: Age 8 and Up ($17.99)
- Sylvan Workbook: Age 4-5 ($6.99)