Make the Most of Summer: How to Engage Your Kids in Their Summer Work & Stop Summer Learning Loss
Part 2: Diving into Summer Learning
The next step to lightening the burden of academics in the summer is to become familiar with what is expected of your child for the assigned summer work. Any opportunity you can identify to make the practice of those skills fun will help get it done faster and more enjoyably; plus, real-world examples really cement the concepts in your child’s mind for later recall and use.
For example, if your child needs to practice writing, turn an outing to the beach into a subtle lesson by having your child build a sand castle, but keep track of all the steps involved, taking photos or drawing or writing down each step. By documenting along the way, the assignment is broken down into manageable chunks and there is something concrete to refer back to when your child puts it all together in writing later. This is also a great way to model sequencing for math – certain steps have to be completed before you can move on to other ones or the whole sand castle won’t hold up. If your child is happier indoors, substitute a Lego creation or a recipe for cooking. This type of activity can also help kids who need to practice thinking about how details relate to the big picture and vice versa (What is the end goal? A finished sand castle, Lego building or an apple pie. How do we get there? The sequential steps of building the finished product. What happens if we make a mistake? Ways you and your child troubleshoot if a step is missed or incorrectly done). The more the whole family is involved, the easier it is for your child to complete and have fun along the way.
Break It Up
If your child struggles to get through summer assignments, make sure to build in break times and little rewards along the way. Set appropriate blocks of time to work (depending on age, skill level and learning profile – 10 minute increments for an antsy 9-year-old, for example; longer for a student who can sit and focus for longer) and then decide ahead of time what the break will look like. It can be a variety of different things, from a snack break (once in awhile – not every time) to a movement break (shooting hoops outside, cartwheels, biking) to an alternative activity break (approved YouTube videos for a short period). Together, you can decide on a final reward for finishing, too (take in a family movie, walk to get ice cream, attend a sports event, etc.).
By treating breaks as part of the process for getting work done, you teach your children about how their brains work best, the value of how they use their time, and how they can make big or long assignments feel more manageable.
Coming Soon: Part 3 – How to “Sell” a Summer Academic Program to Your Kids
Highlighted Summer Academic Program:
Does your middle schooler or high schooler need help with planning, organizing and time management? Are studying and test-taking particular challenges? Summer is the perfect time to focus on building and improving these skills with Study Smarter, Not Harder, a small-group academic program taught by RITES’ expert study skills teachers.