Summer – More Than Just Fun and Sun
The summer is a magical time. No matter your age, we can all remember the energy that buzzed in and around us when we were approaching that last day of school. Summer is a time for running through the sprinklers in the backyard, barbecues and water balloons. Children are filled with the notion that summer brings fun when it arrives and that maybe – just maybe – these few months were made just for them. Embracing summer comes naturally for all children, but holding on to the knowledge they have absorbed during the school year can be a challenge.
Students can fall an average of up to 2.6 months behind in the math skills they have acquired over the year. Educators often spend a great deal of time in the fall reviewing. Here are some ideas on how to keep learning a part of your child’s break, while embracing the beauty that is summer.
Keep a schedule. Keep your child’s Kumon study time the same. This will make study time more manageable for you and your child. Since school is out, you might consider investing two hours each morning for learning. Children can do their Kumon, read or conduct their own exploratory research on an interesting topic. If you are traveling out of town, plan ahead with your child’s Kumon Instructor and bring work with you. The magic of Kumon truly comes with daily study, so when you’re away, encourage your child to practice daily.
Take educational trips. Visit a museum, the zoo or take a nature walk, all low-cost ways for children to have fun while learning. Visit your city website, community center or library to learn about free education events throughout the summer.
Keep a summer journal. Free-form writing helps a child build vocabulary, develop their thought process and learn to articulate how they feel. Your child can record the plants and animals you encounter during a trip and then research the animals online when you return. One day, your child will thank you for encouraging them to keep a journal.
Keep practicing math. Math is a part of everyday activities, especially in cooking. Invite your child to prepare an evening meal for the family. Together, choose a recipe – for instance, macaroni and cheese or tacos. Create a grocery list and then head to the store. Give your child a budget of $20. When you arrive, put your child in the driver’s seat. Give them the cart and guide them as they roam the aisles in search of each ingredient. As they find ingredients, figure out which brand to purchase and the price difference. Make sure your child keeps track of the total to stay within budget. When you get home, model how to measure the ingredients, but then allow them to try and do the work. Show them how fractions are used in preparation. Remember, the kitchen will get dirty! You can teach your child how to prepare a super-clean kitchen when you clean up together afterwards. Remember, it takes practice and time for a child to develop eye-hand coordination. In time, your child will improve. Resist showing visible signs of frustration if mistakes are made, milk spills, or the entire bowl tumbles off the counter!
When the timer goes off and you’re ready to enjoy a meal together, you can smile to yourself at the fact that your child has quite possibly practiced math longer than ever – without you even having to ask.
Keep your children reading. Together with your child, decide on a reading goal that will challenge them but also be attainable. A goal can be a number of books or the goal of getting to a certain reading level. Foster your child’s interests by always trying new works and asking for their opinion. Remember, your library is an excellent resource. Also ask your Kumon Instructor for a copy of Kumon’s Recommended Reading List, with more than 350 titles from award-winning authors from around the world. You can select chapters of books, articles or a combination of reading materials that can be enjoyed each day.
Creating an environment in and out of your home that embraces the fun and sun of summer with the right balance of study and learning will place your child on track for an excellent new school year. Go have some fun!