Sliding Into Summer

Jun 1
As my alarm clock sung to me bright and early this morning, I couldn't help but imagine what it will be like next week when there are no lunches to pack, no homework to remember, no permission slips to sign and no agenda for the foreseeable future. It sounds really euphoric and wonderful for a minute and then all the challenges that summer bring start to come to mind. It looks a little different for everyone...

Maybe you're planning pool parties with friends, camps with classmates or amazing family vacations. Maybe you are scrambling for childcare options or wondering how you'll entertain them all day without letting them zone out on screen time. 

Maybe you're thankful your kids get to have a break from the rigors of school and have time to relax or... maybe you're worried about your student taking time off because they struggled this year and you're worried they'll get further behind. Maybe the summer slide doesn't look like a fun-filled waterslide to you at all but really a complete undoing of all the progress your student has made in their schoolwork this year. 

The Summer Slide

The summer slide is just a playful way of talking about the loss of learning that happens to students with an extended break from school. Think of it like the game of Chutes and Ladders. Just when you start to get some traction and pull ahead, you hit a chute (or slide) and have to go right back to where you were. 

 The long summer vacation breaks the rhythm and routine of instruction, leads to forgetting, and requires a significant amount of review of material when students return to school in the fall. The highest losses are seen in math and literacy.

Also, the long summer break can have a greater negative effect on the learning of children with special educational needs. While some schools will accommodate special education students during summer, there are also the undiagnosed students slipping through the cracks who already aren't receiving help that they desperately need. For the former, it's important to keep instruction and remediation ongoing, which may look like summer school or private tutoring. 

It's easy to say, " Hey, it's Summer! Let them just play and have fun." Yes, of course we want our kids to have fun and have plenty of time to relax. Play is essential in so many aspects of child development but let us also be intentional and set them up for success come Fall. Here are a few ways to combat the slippery slope known as the Summer slide...

3 Keys Components to Combat the Slide

Keep A Regular
 Schedule

Say what you want about school but the consistency and structure it provides for students is very beneficial. When kids are suddenly introduced to a world without structure, expectations or rules things can
 go awry pretty quickly. 

Empower your child by working with them  to create a schedule that balances responsibility, play, learning, and creativity. Set firm limits on their screen time and encourage other activities like games
 or artwork. 

Also, sticking to a regular bedtime and hygiene habits is encouraged by pediatricians to keep children healthy.
There will always be times when those things go out the window like  while camping, but generally it should be simple to stay on track. 

Offer a Variety of Learning Choices

While camps and classes are a terrific tool to provide new learning experiences they can be quite costly. Online camps and classes are another option and the sky is the limit on what is offered these days. However, a quick trip to the local library or thrift store can also provide an array of new learning opportunities, for less
than $20.

Encourage them to pick out things they've never tried before. Board games, puzzles, workbooks, or a new series of books to read through all summer are simple ways to keep their minds engaged and productive throughout the summer months. If you want to get really into it let them pick out a sewing machine, tools or a cookbook. 

Maybe this new bundle of activities creates a chess master or future chef. You never know!  

Encourage
Creativity

There is a certain amount of summer that we just have to leave to the imagination and I don't mean yours. Try to keep things like art supplies, outdoor toys, and backup plans at the ready. Be open to their ideas even if it might result in a mess.  

The only problem with kids using their imagination is that its usually a lot of work. When possible, allow your kids to take some ideas into their own hands. For young ones, maybe it's a lemonade stand, or a pillow fort in the basement. 

For older kids, have them make dinner one night from start to finish which includes planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleanup. There will be supervision required for certain things but just imagine how accomplished they'll feel doing these things for themselves!
 
While Summer brings the opportunity to rest, re-charge and put the school year behind you, we all know that there is something new to learn every day even outside of school. As adults, we are actively learning each day. You try a new gardening method, and have to adjust the variables to make sure your plants grow. You watch a video on Tik-Tok and learn an amazing new way to paint furniture. You probably learn new things at your job all the time and if you aren't, it might be time to try something new.

The point is... learning is not limited to the classroom. 

One of our seasoned tutors favorite phrase to keep in the classroom is Never Stop Learning. 
Keep reading with your kids 20 minutes every day, even if you aren't getting email reminders from the school. Have them calculate fractions and measurements while you're cooking, or count out change at the concession stand. Pull out a paper map and have them navigate your next road trip. Have them write letters to their cousins in other states or find a pen pal across the world. There are hundreds of ways to keep them engaged all summer. Don't fall victim to the summer slide! 



Need More Support This Summer? 

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