The dreaded summer slide sneaks in to steal the learning that our students have worked so hard for. Try as we might during the year, some summer slide is inevitable, but we can work with our students and parents to minimize summer slide so that the next school year can be maximized!
By completing short activities throughout the summer our students can be ready for the next school year. These activities can be quick and painless, and shutter, even gamified so that our students are begging for more!
Prevent Summer Slide with Mental Math
Each day ask your student about ten mental math questions. These questions can be basic operations such as “5+17” or more complicated such as “Think of how many sides an octagon has. Now multiply that number by 5 and subtract 3.”
By encouraging our students to use their mathematical brains just a little each day it keeps them thinking and their math muscles flexed.
A great time to practice mental math is in the car while taking a walk, or at dinner together. Really any time is well suited for a little mental math practice. Personally, I like to pepper questions throughout the day instead of building one set time to hit them all.
Bring Back the Bedtime Story
Basically, put aside some time for reading every day. Have your student read to you, and you read to your student. This time might be at bedtime, or you might have them read you a recipe or the grocery list.
One of my favorite activities is to share some current events with students using Dogo News. Dogo news has kid-friendly current events on their level. This way your student is staying informed and practicing reading skills. Bonus points if you continue with a critical discussion of the event after they read it to you.
Make Screen Time Count
There are a variety of educational videos on YouTube and other sources that are ready to suck your student in and forget that they are learning at the same time. By choosing an educational video to watch once or twice a week you will keep your students’ minds peeked and ready to take in information. This may even lead to some kind of passion project.
This is a great list of educational YouTube channels.
Build Experiences to Decrease Summer Slide
Are you planning on taking a trip to the zoo, an amusement park, or maybe a road trip? Have your student play a role is planning! Students can plan a route to take through Google maps, build a budget for how much you will spend on the trip, find out how much gas you will need, research the physics behind a roller coaster, or research an animal.
When you are already planning an experience for your family it is natural to include your student in the planning process. They get valuable planning experience as well as an educational experience that matches perfectly with real life.
Make it Physical
Are you playing outside with your student? Why not make it into a measurement challenge? Have your student complete tasks such as the long jump, the high jump, the 50-meter dash, and whatever else strikes your fancy and then have them measure their results. Who wouldn’t be into that?
Playing basketball in the driveway? Skip count by a certain number each time you bounce the ball then change numbers each time you make a basket.
Playing football in the yard? Have your student keep score!
Drawing with sidewalk chalk, why not include a little math?
Fight Summer Slide In the Kitchen
Have students find a recipe that they would like to make, make the grocery list, build a budget for how much they can spend, shop for the items, and then make the recipe.
Baking recipes are especially good for practicing using measuring tools, but any recipe is a great learning experience and might just build a passion towards cooking or baking in your student!
One of my friends does a weekly challenge with her daughter where she has $15 to buy and prep a meal for their family of four. Her daughter loves it, and it is one less night she has to cook! Win-win!
Build a Reward System
Is your student reluctant to continue learning over the summer? A little bit of a bribe goes a long way. ? I am certainly not above bribing a child, especially when it is for something that will have a positive effect on them. Does your child look longingly at the ice cream truck as it drives by each afternoon? Use it! Do they long for something else? Use it! You know your child best and know what they will work for!
Try an Online Practice Program to Combat Summer Slide
There are a ton of amazing online programs for practicing both reading and writing over the summer. Most of them use gamification to keep students engaged. Just a little bit of time several times a week will keep students in tip-top shape for the next school year.
Some programs I have used with students are IXL, Math Playground, Reflex Math, Splash Math, and Fun English Games. All of these sites have free trials for parents to get you started.
Play Brain-Building Games
There are a plethora of brain games out there that will keep you and your student functioning at your highest level. Whether you are into strategic board games that require critical thinking skills, you play word games, or you have a fondness for trivia share it with your student!
All of these strategies serve to keep our brain synapses firing and dendrites growing, which is crucial to continuing the learning process and preventing summer slide.
Personally, I LOVE to use these math games throughout the summer with students to keep skills sharp. I will challenge a student to a game with a prize of an ice cream afterward or time playing outside. They love that they know what they are doing, and I love the practice they get!
Tutor a Younger Student
They say that a true test of whether you know something or not is whether you can teach it to someone else. If you have a sibling, neighbor, or cousin that is younger or even the same age set up a “tutoring” session where your student can teach another skill they have learned.
These sessions will help both the tutor and pupil to review vital skills and keep them fresh in their mind.
Join a Local Program
Whether it is a day camp, local library program, or something of your own creation getting your student out of the house and taking part in a learning program where they are experiencing new things with other people is important for both their social and academic well being.
Many public libraries offer summer programs complete with incentives and engaging activities for a full range of ages. These programs are usually free to community members.
Keep a Routine
I know that I love to sleep until I wake up and eat whenever I want when I have the opportunity, but I am doing myself no favors. I am not saying to keep the same routine as the school year, but a routine will do everyone good.
Enforcing a bedtime as well as continuing to set an alarm, even if it is for later, will keep your student’s body functioning on a schedule that will make starting the new school year much easier.
Here in Texas summers are HOT. It is tempting to move from one air-conditioned space to another if you leave the house at all. It is vital to keep our students’ bodies active as well as their minds. Go for a walk, play a game, or take a swim. A healthy body is the first step to a healthy mind.
Moral of the summer slide story is that no matter what you do keep your students thinking! This doesn’t mean that you have to complete endless hours of workbooks to keep your students prepared for school. Have some fun with it, play some games, and get involved!
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