A lot of my clients struggle with getting their kids to keep up their academic skills over the summer (or complete the dreaded "summer work.") I share the struggle. One of my kids spends her free time writing stories and reading books faster than we can buy them. The other, well, does not....
I am all for kids enjoying summer. I hate those summer packets and assigned summer reading. I think they take all the joy out of learning. But, we all know the statistics about how much skill kids lose over the summer when they aren't at school. Keeping up those skills is definitely important -- particularly for kids who struggle in school or have learning differences.
My #1 piece of advice is to keep learning fun. And, to provide choice and variety. There are many avenues to reading, writing and doing math and kids will be more likely to complete these tasks if they choose them; if the tasks are interesting; and if they have some variety so that they don't get bored.
I want to share with you what my family is doing over the next two weeks to celebrate the Olympics! Each family member selected three countries competing in the Olympics. We added Brazil and the U.S. (yes, I know my math skills are off and with a family of four, we have more than two weeks of countries!!).
The kids will take one country at a time and do some Internet research on that place. They will learn the country's capital, what continent it is on, and what people like to eat there. They will draw the country flag (most appreciated by my artistic daughter). And they will learn about one athlete from that country who is competing in the Games (most appreciated by my son). Each night we will cook a meal from that country.
The kids are really enjoying my assignments (the jury is still out on the meals!). From a parent perspective, they are practicing their reading and writing; by cooking with me, they will get some math practice; they are learning about geography and a little bit about world affairs; and they are learning to do research on the Internet. I'd say that is a gold medal summer assignment.
Want to join? Tonight we are eating from Brazil. Thanks to Food52, we are trying a fish stew called Moqueca and a blackberry drink (minus the rum!) called a caipirinha.
I am a licensed psychologist working with kids, teens, and adults with anxiety disorders.