Am I the only mama who kind of stresses about my little guy losing all the progress he's made during his year of school? I mean, my son's only in preschool, but I'm still kind of nervous that by the time September rolls around, it's going to be like he's starting from square one... and that means a lot of hard work for him and a lot of money for mama and daddy down the drain.
So whether you have a little one who's working on the simplest of school things, or an older babe who has been learning all about math and grammar and languages, you might want to do something to make sure they keep up with their learning during the summer.
If you're like me and want to do a little something without pretending you're a teacher or a tutor or putting in hours of work, then hopefully these tips will help all of us this summer!
Short and Simple
This is pretty much a MUST during the summer months. When the sun is shining and the pool is calling, there isn't anything in the world that'll keep my kids sitting at the kitchen table practicing letters for any length of time. In our house, we keep it short, and sweet. A couple times a week, for 10-15 minutes, we'll do 2-3 different things that we've been learning about during the school year.
For my preschooler, that means that at the breakfast table I give him a dry-erase tracing of his name and have him copy it 3 times before going to play. Later that day, we'll work on uppercase and lowercase letter matching, and spend the extra time before bed to go through a sight word book with him. Nothing that takes too much effort, nothing too tough for either of us, but keeps his mind engaged in the learning he had during the school year.
Make it Fun
My littles respond to anything when we make it fun and they can get a little giggle out of it. I also like to have a lot of learning and "teaching" toys/tools around our house that are easy and accessible for them at any time of the day.
When we work on letters I make it a game-- find all the "A"nts hidden around the house, and get a prize when you find them all! Working on the letter B means that bath time you get "B"lue bath paint and "B"ubbles. You'll work on learning with them in a fun way that doesn't take any extra effort out of your normal schedule. We also keep an alphabet up on our fridge and any time our kids come into the kitchen (while I'm doing any of the thousands of things I do in there daily), I ask them to find me a certain letter or a letter in their name.
This is so huge, because one of the things my son loves most about school is that he gets to hang out with all his little buddies. Plus, my kids totally feed off of the energy of others, so if they're in an environment where other littles are all sitting and listening and following directions, then the chances are good that they will do the same.
Most public libraries have summer reading programs for kids of all ages, and they're able to read a certain number of books or read for a certain amount of time and they win prizes. My kids LOVE going to story time at our library. They get to be around kids their same age, listen to a few stories, play some games, and sing some songs, and all we have to do is show up! Check out your local library, mall, or city hall and I'm sure you'll be able to find a few things that don't cost a thing, and help your kids have fun with others while learning this summer!
My kids love having friends over, and one of the things I like to do is ask their mom beforehand if its okay if we do a little bit of "school" when they come over. For the record, I've never had a mama say no! We'll sing the ABCs, do a super short story or lesson (usually I just use the weekly readers that my son brought home during the school year) and then we make the playdate all about the book we're reading.
If we decide to read "Vegetables in Underwear", we can talk all about different vegetables, try a few different ones, or even plant some seeds (if I'm feeling like supermom). We can also work on numbers by playing hopscotch outside, dominoes, or even a board game! When a friend is over pretty much anything will be a little bit more exciting and fun.