parent engagement

The Only Thing I Want to See Melting This Summer Is My Ice Cream Cone, Not My Kid's Brain

Yeah I know, the last thing most of us parents want to do during summer is think about school. We just want to enjoy time with the kids at the park or sleep in a little longer. After all, this is what summer is really about—family time. But while we're all relaxing and enjoying life, I would like us to be mindful that children, especially Pre-K through third-graders, must be constantly learning. Their minds retain so much, but when intentional learning doesn’t happen, they lose out. In fact, the average child loses several months of knowledge over the summer. This phenomenon, known as the summer slide, will affect them when they return to school in the fall. Don’t worry—here are a few fun ideas that will help prevent the summer slide and keep your children’s summer educational. 1. Reading Challenge your child to read things they love and have a rich conversation with them about it. It doesn’t matter whether the reading material is fun comic strips or fashion and sports magazines. 2. Math While playing at the beach or park, ask your child to find specific shapes or colors and count them out. Sort the items out and then take them away, and your child will have to figure out the percentage you subtracted. If you have older kids, you can teach them about personal finance by asking them to create a budget for next year’s school supplies and clothing. Tell them to be realistic with their spending. 3. Science Take a nature walk, talk about the bugs in the backyard, or let them make an ant farm in a clear jar and explore new places. You can also visit your local science center as a family. 4. History This year marks the 50th year of the 1967 resistance in Detroit. Have your children read up on and write about those events. As a bonus, encourage your kids to finish this activity before the film about the resistance starring John Boyega comes out on August 4, so that they can better relate to it. 5. Art Art is everywhere. Buy some chalk and let your children design a mural in the driveway. You can also take them to the art museum. 6. Writing Have your younger children write a paragraph about their summer vacation and all the things they would like to do during the break. For teenagers, you can purchase a notebook and have them write about whatever topics they want. Suggest that they even do research on their top colleges and brainstorm and write one thing they think they should do to get accepted into those schools. All of these activities seem fun to me, but then again, I am a bit old school. Whatever you decide to do, make sure your children retain what they have learned and have fun doing it. The only thing I hope to see melting this summer are the ice cubes in my glass of lemonade! What are some things you do to keep your children engaged?
An original version of this post appeared on Detroit School Talk as Summer, Summer, Summer Time, Summer Time, Time to Sit Back and Unwind! Or Not?.
Bernita Bradley
Bernita Bradley is a mother of two, a 24-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter. She is a long-time advocate for Detroit parents and students. She served as AmeriCorps/AmeriCorps Vista for two terms. Her passion is ensuring that the whole child is catered to in every village and that parents have a voice in the ever changing education landscape of the city. She serves as community engagement ...

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