Discuss: Combating Summer Learning Loss
In this week's Moms Talk, our Moms Council tackles ideas on how to prevent your kids from forgetting what they learned last year and carry it into the new school year.
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So grab a cup of coffee and settle in as we start the conversation with today's question ...
Now that summer is almost over...summer learning loss. How to combat the forgetfulness from the end of one school year to the beginning of the next (What do you do: workbooks, learning games, not worry about it, etc.)
My daughter is only four, so I'm still new to the academic enrichment game. Since this past year of preschool came to a close, I've been doing what we've always done with her at home: the occasional workbook page (mixing it up a bit in terms of subject matter and difficulty), reading, making up little math games, and so on. We also sit with her as she works through educational computer games (once we wrench her away from Angry Birds; in other news, she can definitely spell "birdie" and "piggy"). But there's so much more to teach her than just phonics and subtraction. She and my husband worked through a basic logic puzzle the other night, just because it tied in tangentially to her bedtime story. I guess you just never know when the opportunity to sneak in a little more info will arise.
I'm sure I'll learn about other, possibly better enrichment techniques once she's in kindergarten and higher grades. For now, we're just trying to work the "lessons" into the usual summer fun. One has to make time for the beach, after all.
I thought for sure summer learning loss was something I wouldn't have to worry about until my kids were deep in the throes of elementary school. So after a busy school year, I was looking forward to spending my days parked in a pool watching them doggie paddle from one end to the other without a care in the world. Then I read that teachers spend the first month or 2 of school reteaching the things kids learned the previous year because it's forgotten. And, after realizing everything our daughter learned this past year about phonics, language arts, reading and math…we thought, "Well, there goes that plan!"
Luckily for me, my 5 year old just loves school and picks up on concepts rather quickly. She has such a thirst for knowledge and even makes up math problems for herself to solve…just for fun (weirdo.) So I've managed to work this to my advantage by turning schoolwork into a game (A Mary Poppins song comes to mind.) Kids like to play store, right? Why not play school too! For the summer, I went to Lakeshore Learning Store and got a few workbooks (I even picked up a few pre-K books for my 3.5 year old so she can play too.) Then every few weeks we bust them out and do a few pages of math, phonics or language arts--and they love it.
But keeping up with work doesn't always have to be so formal of a lesson. She likes to write letters to her friends and family or write basic stories which is doing wonders for her spelling skills. I let her count out money when we go to the store or to get ice cream. We grow vegetables and let her help with maintenance which keeps up some science skills. She reads stories to her sister or does a themed week of camp where she learns about a particular subject like marine life or bugs. We go fishing or camping which reinforces ideas about animal life or the environment. She even could spend her days drawing picture after picture or playing dress-up, further developing her imagination and creativity. Learning isn't just memorizing words and numbers--it's about the experiences you have and what you get from those experiences. It's about being well-rounded.
Yes summer is about having fun, relaxing and taking a break from school but learning can still be incorporated into that down time so as not to FEEL like forced learning--a spoonful of sugar! So yeah, I'm still parked in that pool and fortunately my kids seem to have moved beyond the doggie paddle, almost.