Well, the 2016-17 school year is in the books. While many are happy to have a break from school and to begin their busy schedules of vacations, summer camps and other fun activities, many parents ask a simple question: “Now what?”
Most parents ask this question in reference to their child’s academic standing or progress. When I hear “now what” that usually means “how do I keep my children academically prepared?” In education, we usually observe what we refer to as “summer drop off” when students return in August. In other words, when we compare their spring scores to their fall scores, there is usually a minor decrease. I’m convinced this is not because they have forgotten what they have learned. I believe it is because the students are not in the normal structured routine of the school day and they simply have lost the recall powers to complete various tasks and assignments. I can remember when I returned to school after a busy summer feeling like basic tasks were new again (picking up a pencil, basic adding and subtracting, etc.). As adults, we do the same thing. When our routine is disrupted for an extended period, we must be reminded how to handle certain tasks.
There are several things that you can do to keep your child on the proper academic track. First, encourage him or her to read. Establish a routine and visit the public library weekly. Most public libraries run a summer reading program. See how many books your child can read. Be careful that they are reading on the proper level. Reading below level occasionally is fun but it should not be a regular practice. Ensure that they spend several hours a week reading a good book. While they may not need to have a reading time each day, I recommend at least 2-3 times a week.
Second, your child has online access to the many tools we offer here at CCAS throughout the summer. Think Through Math, Reading Eggs and Reading Plus are all tools your child has used throughout the school year. As I discussed in an earlier blog, these tools are adaptive so they remember your child’s level and push them to accelerate in their learning. Again, 2-3 times a week is plenty but make sure it is routine! If you do not have online access, your child can access the tools at a computer station when they visit the public library this summer.
Finally, think of engaging activities that are hands-on. It may mean a visit to a state or national park. You might visit a local destination or you might take advantage of your already existing family trip to include history or science museums along the way so as not to extend your trip. Since learning is a life-long process, shouldn’t academically challenging summer activities be part of your child’s educational plan?