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Stop the Summer Slide

Plan now for summertime educational enrichment activities.

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching! You are pulling out shorts and t-shirts, getting graduation parties in your calendar, and are planning your summer vacation. Before the summer hits and your kids get out of a learning routine, make sure you reduce the effects of the “summer slide” by planning educational opportunities for the summer months.

What is the summer slide?
A true testament to the phrase “use it or lose it”, the summer slide is what happens when kids are out of school for three months during the summer. Without consistent educational intervention, reading and math scores decrease and kids forget crucial building block skills before they even hit the door on their first day of school after break. The summer slide is real and it can be serious; but the good news is that the summer slide can be prevented with some planning on your part before the last school bell rings.

What can I do?

Weaving educational opportunities into your family’s summer schedule isn’t as hard – or as boring – as it might sound. To get you started, here’s a checklist of things to plan now, before your kids start to sleep in and spend too much time on the couch or at the pool.

Talk to teacher – Most schools don’t have an end of year conference, so be sure to communicate with your child’s teacher a month or so before summer break. Get a good handle on your child’s strong points and weak points, as well as his/her suggestions on skills that your child needs some practice with. This information gives you a nice place to start when thinking of what your child needs some extra help with.

Get supplies and a routine – If you are home with your child during the summer, be sure that you plan ahead for what a typical day in the summer will look like for your family. We are all for sleeping in and know that lazy days at the pool certainly have their benefits. However, if you get in a routine of sleeping until 10 and spending no time on some real-life math or reading, you run the risk of extra resistance when you try to implement educational routines in July or August. Also, be sure that your home is stocked with a few educational supplies so you can pull them out during a rainy day or before dinner. Try educational workbooks, printed worksheets, or even craft kits.

Check out the community – A weekly trip to the library is good for kids of any age – preschool to high school. Make sure that you are connected to your library’s happenings, as well as any park district camps that you child might enjoy. You might also find environmental education opportunities in your community or cooking classes that can show your child what math and reading look like in real life. Make plans to hit the local aquarium, zoo, farm, or planetarium; not only are these fun day trips, but the learning happens easily in these places.

Volunteer or work – Your junior high or high school student will benefit immensely if given the opportunity to either volunteer or work consistently throughout the summer. Work with your child to assist him/her in their search for volunteer or employment, and offer resources when trying to determine logistics like transportation.

Find support – Talk to the tutors you’re working with and ask for suggestions on how to keep your child practicing and learning throughout the summer months. Entertain the idea of increasing your Tutor Doctor appointments throughout the summer to keep your child engaged, or ask for ideas on educational websites or practice.

Your summer can still be full of beach trips and fireworks, but this summer could be the year you plan ahead of time to keep your child engaged in learning too. We think you can stop the summer slide – good luck!