Seven Tips to Avoid the Summer Learning Slump

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summer learning

This post is sponsored by Brookfield Christian School. We are pleased to bring our readers these resources about summer learning.

Of course summertime is full of sunshine and endless possibilities for adventure, but for many families, summer also means a shakeup of the routine and quite possibly a couple months of taking the foot off the gas when it comes to the educational habits that were established during the school year. In the midst of trips to the pool, summer camps and zoo outings, parents may suddenly start to ask themselves questions like: 

How do I encourage my child to read during the summer? 

Apart from giving them worksheets all summer, what can I do to help my children improve their math skills? 

Is there a way to avoid sliding backwards during the summer months? 

When asked for ways to avoid this common issue, the teachers from our partners at Brookfield Christian School shared lots of great ideas to avoid the Summer Slump! Ideas ranged from utilizing resources like Summer Bridge Books to photo “safaris” and more. One of the teachers recommended making a plan with your child the first week of vacation. What area or skill does your child need to grow in during the summer that was challenging during the year? What would practice look like? How often should practice occur? Involve them in the process and find creative ways to make summer learning fun! The old saying, “use it or lose it,” is true for the many skills students develop during the year. Work on those needs with fun activities that enhance those skills all summer long.

For those with preschoolers, our 4K teachers send home this summer activity packet, which covers a variety of areas and a calendar with a fun activity for each day of the month. For kids of all ages, we’ve gathered up the suggestions and advice of the BCS classroom teachers to help your students keep learning all summer long below.

Seven Tips to Avoid the Summer Learning Slump

music

Cultivate appreciation for music and the arts.

  • See if your local park puts on musical or theatrical performances and attend one as a family. Pack a picnic dinner and make a night of it! Check out this list for some great ideas.
  • Enroll your child in a class at First Stage. Get into a summer camp at The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. Create, perform and explore!
  • Attend a performance or show at the Bradley Pavilion next to the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. Many of these shows are free!
  • Focus on a new composer/music time period each month – if kids play an instrument or piano, see if they can play a song from the composer/time period. Have a short “recital,” find recordings to play during dinner or quiet time in the afternoon or attend an outdoor concert featuring the composer’s music or music of the period.
    • Need help selecting a composer of interest to them?  Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and Bach are good starters. Three American composers of the 20th century are George Gershwin, Wynton Marsalis (jazz), and John Williams. Learn more about the influence African-Americans had on 20th-century music and how it shaped American musical history. 
  • Websites to check out:

Get outside and enjoy nature.

  • Explore God’s Creation at one of the many amazing state parks in the area.
  • Take a hike! Ride a bike! Explore a new walking path! Find a brand new park you haven’t visited before and play an imagination game. 
  • Do a photo safari and try to find different plants, animals, shapes, textures, etc.
  • Go to your local farmer’s market to support local farmers and learn more about things that grow in the earth. Maybe even take home a couple plants for your kids to tend for themselves.  

Explore Museums and State history.

Sharpen those Math Skills.

  • When you are watching sporting events, do simple math problems. For example: If there is 4:25 remaining on the clock, how much time has passed by in the quarter? Perhaps bring the kids to a Milwaukee Brewers game and show them how to calculate batting averages or a pitcher’s ERA. This is even more fun when the teams are winning, which is awesome for Milwaukee families! (Go Brewers!!!) 
  • Take your kids to the grocery store and have them track the cost of items in the cart, or calculate the savings with a coupon.
  • Give your kids a budget and let them shop for craft supplies or snacks for a fun afternoon.
  • Grab a summer bridge book or find extra practice printables online.
  • Baking is a great way to work on fractions. For an extra challenge, try doubling a recipe.

Summer Reading

Encourage your kids to keep reading all summer.

  • Get your child involved in a summer reading program at your local library.
  • Check out the Barnes & Noble reading program. You can earn a free book!
  • Read a book alongside of your child.
  • Encourage your child to start a book club with their friends! You could host the book club with snacks, etc. to get them more involved.
  • Read the book and watch the movie! If you are hoping to encourage your kids to open a book and read this summer then this might do the trick. Pick out a book that is also a movie and then pick a date for a movie night. To view the movie you have to read the book. (Hint: Make sure you include buttered popcorn.) Since the movie is often a creative interpretation of the book, talk about the differences that you noticed and what you thought was more interesting in the book and what was more interesting in the movie. Ask your child to be a movie critic and critique how the movie portrayed the book (characters, plot, scenes, imagery, etc.). We highly recommend using the book and movie “Wonder” for this activity. Both are excellent and incite great conversation with your kids (age seven and up).
  • Encourage your children to read books they enjoy for at least 30 minutes per day. Your child will likely be more engrossed in material they choose themselves than material that is forced on them.
  • Provide incentives for reluctant readers. For example, if your child enjoys basketball, agree to take them to the local court if they do their “daily reading.”
  • Make reading a social act. Establish a time during the day when all members of the family gather and read on their own, or take turns reading the same book aloud.
  • Connect your reading to family outings. If you take your kids to an aquarium, consider reading a book about fish or the ocean with them later that day. The outing can help place the reading into a broader context.  
  • Branch out and try some new reading sources. Perhaps try a play script, a graphic novel, or maybe a version of a classic work adapted for young audiences. There are lots of options! 

Use Tech skills For good.

  • Use those word processing, graphics, and keyboarding skills to create flyers for a rummage sale or lemonade stand and give proceeds to a favorite charity.
  • Create cards for missionaries or soldiers.
  • Volunteer to help a senior citizen with computer skills.
  • Dive into a DIY: find a project for your kids to do and have them follow the step by step instructions online. Pinterest and YouTube are great resources for finding fun project ideas. This allows kids to use a screen but to also create something and learn about how different things are made. You could also have your kids create their own DIY project and publish it online or email a tutorial to a family member.
  • Plan an outdoor photo scavenger hunt! Make a list of all plants, rocks, bugs etc. that you want your kids to find and ask them to photograph each item they find with a camera, iPod, smartphone or tablet. Afterward, you could use the photos to create a photo book together. Great for camping trips!

Write, write, write.

  • Use summer as an opportunity to help your writers develop “writing in real life.” Purchase postcards when you travel and have your writers compose a brief note about their travels to send to friends or family.  
  • Write thank you notes to their teachers or letters to family and friends.  
  • Start a family blog using free blogging websites like Blogger, Shutterfly or Weebly. Have your kids take pictures and write brief posts about their summer travels and adventures. Many blogs can be accessed by “invitation only,” so “public posts” can still be controlled by mom and dad while helping writers understand purpose, audience, and genre.
  • Bored? Have your child write and illustrate a short story or comic.
  • Have your child write out the grocery list or the itinerary for the day and then check things off the list.
  • Creative lettering and calligraphy are all the rage right now. Buy lined paper or practice books and have them learn how to create a masterpiece!

brookfield christian school

Be sure to take advantage of all our great community has to offer and make summer learning FUN! Brookfield Christian School is a non-denominational, independent Christian school located in Brookfield, WI.  If you’d like to learn more about BCS, visit their website, Facebook page, or contact them at [email protected].

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Make sure you save this post to Pinterest so you can reference it this summer and in summers to come! 

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