As an educator for the past 15 years, the “summer slump” is a common phrase many in the field use when referencing the need to “reteach” or “reinforce” previously learned material.
According to an article I recently read in the New York Times, “during summer vacation kids can forget anywhere between one to three months worth of math and reading skills.”
However, as a mother, I know the importance of balance for kids of all ages.
The research is on my side for that too! In the book, Schools In: The History of Summer Education in American Public Schools, historian Ken Gold writes that summer break came about in the 19th century with the notion that “too much schooling impaired a child’s and teacher’s health.”
So how do we find that balance?
How can we have a fun, relaxing summer, but still avoid the learning losses?
Here are three easy (and sneaky steps) to integrate into your weekly routines:
1. Online Resources/Apps
Resources: There are so many resources to purchase and download along with great bloggers who have developed fun summer units with built-in educational aspects that allow children to learn without realizing they are learning.
Apps: I know technology can be controversial (it is in my house!), but despite the controversy, there are amazing educational apps available starting at the age of two and ending with…well, adulthood really.
Admittedly, the apps can be a little more fun with the younger kids, such as ABC Mouse, Epic: Kids’ Books and Educational Reading Library, and PBS Kids Games. However, do not turn a nose at great resources (which are free) for the teens like Kahn Academy.
2. Local Adventures
Pensacola and our surrounding area have great outings and adventures that are educational as well and with places beginning to lift restrictions, many are great options for rainy or sweltering days.
Arcadia Mill Archeological Site (5709 Mill Pond Lane Milton, FL 32583)
Pensacola Museum of History 330 South Jefferson Street Pensacola, FL 32502
Pensacola Children’s Museum 115 East Zaragoza Street Pensacola, FL 32502
Pensacola Museum of Art 407 South Jefferson Street Pensacola, FL 32502
Pensacola Historical Village 330 South Jefferson St Pensacola, FL 32502
Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservatory 8740 Gulf Blvd, Navarre, FL 32566
Exploreum Science Center and Porch Creek Indians Digital Dome Theater 65 Government St, Mobile, AL 36602
Pensacola Mess Hall 418 E Wright St, Pensacola, FL 32502
Veteran’s Memorial Park and Wall South 200 S. 10th Ave. Pensacola, FL 32052
General Daniel “Chappie” James Museum 1608 Doctor MLK, Jr. Drive Pensacola, FL 32503
Bonus- A fun “trick” I learned recently from a family member is to incentivize the learning for our older kids. Make a game out of it by providing a goal of new facts learned for the day. And then provide a treat for their new knowledge.
3. Read. Read. Read
Yes, as an English teacher, I may be partial, but the statistics are there. Reading can help us all become more empathetic, increase vocabulary, expands our imaginations. And YES, even helps create different patterns in the brain.
Twenty minutes a day, that is it, has so many benefits.
And here is the sneaky part…it doesn’t need to be Dickens or Melville nor does it have to be a traditional book.
Audio Books and eBooks/magazines also have great benefits and help “work out” the brain the same way the treadmill helps workout our hearts.
How are you surviving the “summer slump?”