Summer Learning: What Are You Doing with Your Kids?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Not too long before school ended I was talking with Tyler's teacher and she said nine of the sweetest and scariest words a parent can hear before summer vacation,

"I'm running out of things to challenge him with."

On the one hand we're so proud because it means he's doing really well in school but on the other it means I have to keep up the momentum over the summer and make sure he doesn't lose interest or forget what he's learned so far.

My mom used to make me read pages from the dictionary and encyclopedia over summer. I hated it, but can definitely see the value now. I bought Tyler a second grade workbook, we're participating in the summer reading challenges from
Borders and Barnes & Noble, and Jump Start sent a learning game and gave me a membership to their online virtual world for kids (review coming soon).

My question for you (maybe my teacher friends can weigh in): Is that enough? Is there something more I should be doing? I don't want to over schedule study time or make it a chore, but I won't let him sit in front of the TV all day either. What are you doing to further your kids' education this summer?
Desk photo from here


  1. Hi Mel,
    My boys are just finishing 3rd and 7th grade respectively and they're both (lucky for us) top-of-the-class kids.
    But it has been difficult to keep skills up during the summer - particularly necessary because my older son has ADHD and if we don't keep up some school work, September is hell (ok, it's hell anyway, but I still try). What's worked for me:
    - Summer Bridge activities books: one page/day, with a "contract" for getting work done.
    - Involving my kids in creating a family newsletter
    - Straight-up bribery (my younger son read 20 books one summer - to earn money)
    - A couple of more academic camps - I work f/t so camps are necessary anyway.

    Hope that helps!

  2. Having four kids of varying ages I can't just go out and buy one program for all so I have had to be very creative.

    My oldest loves to read, always has. He also loves to cook so with him I made sure that some of the things we did had an educational value - recipe measurements, cooking for 2 or 8? a make believe restaurant needs a real menu, etc. So much fun. As for reading his job was to find new words in his reading, in TV shows, online, anywhere and he had to find the answer and its use. Today he has a magnificent vocab and can cook a superb meal from scratch for the entire family.

    My 15 girl loves art so I geared summer learning in's amazing how much more than just learning how to stay within the lines you can learn. She eventually won first place in the Sister Cities Art Program. She likes to read series of books so she did that on her own.

    I have a 7 girl and 2 year old boy and I do the same with them...basically let them play but also help them find the value in the game (i.e. counting water balloons, grouping things by color, size, shape, etc. monopoly Jr., Trivia games, online games, and my daughter's favorite educational activity online

    I hope this gives you some ideas. But always keep in mind that there's a learning adventure and a challenge at every turn, you just have to help them find it.

    Have Fun!


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