By Gennifer Rose, Community & Content Specialist at Schoola
While summer is the perfect time to be outdoors and let children run around and play, it’s also a great time to continue learning outside the classroom. The minds of children are hard at work learning during the school year and keeping them mentally stimulated in the summer to avoid the summer slide is important.
Haley Lussenden of HaleyKnows.com is a mom, high school teacher and a big fan of Schoola. Schoola is her favorite tool to not only save money, but also to help out local schools in the process. She’s currently planning a Schoola clothing drive to raise funds for new instruments for her school’s marching band. Her favorite school memory is the time she inadvertently quoted a One Direction song while answering a student’s question and a several students burst into song with almost everyone joining in for the chorus.
Haley has some great tips on how to combat the summer slide for children of all ages. Here’s what she had to say:
What is “the summer slide?”
Summer slide refers to the tendency for students to lose some of the achievement gains they made during the previous school year. There are several reasons why this phenomenon happens and it largely comes down to resources and awareness.
What are your top tips for preventing summer slide?
The biggest preventative measure for summer slide is hands down parental involvement. If parents don’t prioritize learning during the summer kids often gravitate towards video games and social media. One of the easiest ways parents can encourage learning over the summer is to lead by example. If your child sees you reading for pleasure or working through the math to determine the number of tomato plants that will fit in your garden, he or she will be far more likely to exhibit similar behaviors.
How do you make learning interesting in the summertime?
My rule for summer learning is to keep it light and fun. There are so many things fighting for your child’s attention over the summer, and learning needs to be carefully integrated to get your child excited about it. This can involve reading books about animals before taking a trip to the zoo or asking your older child to help you budget your family road trip based on the average cost of gas, projected speed and distance to be traveled. Kids often tune out if the lesson doesn’t feel relevant to real life or their own experience, so get creative when planting educational opportunities into your child’s day.
Do your suggestions for summer learning change based on a child’s age?
Learning needs to be tailored not only to different age groups, but for individual children as well. Making learning fun and engaging for your child means finding the right material or plan just for them. I would suggest a visit to your local library where you invite your child to check out different types of books. I recommend crafting books, graphic novels, short stories, and other light reading materials that can drive home the reading is fun message. Do a Google search for book suggestions or homeschooling resources for your child’s grade or age. There are a wealth of resources available for free online to help parents encourage learning.
If your child is just entering kindergarten, what are some tips to prepare them for school?
I think the best tip to prepare children for kindergarten is to encourage critical thinking skills early. Its best not to spoon-feed your child information, but rather to incite them to find answers or develop questions. Next time you read a new book to your child, before turning the page ask, “What do you think will happen next?” or “What would you do in this situation?” Fostering critical thinking skills early will benefit your child their entire life.
Where can parents find resources for summer learning?
I think the best resource for summer learning is your public library. Sadly statistics show attendance at public libraries rapidly declining, which is a shame! Local libraries have taken huge strides in recent years to provide valuable resources in the wake of home computers and smartphones. For example, most public libraries now allow patrons to check out ebooks and visit databases, like the ancestry.com archives, for free. The website khanacademy.org is an amazing free resource of video lessons that appeal to children and adults. I also recommend the website teacherspayteachers.com which has numerous free and low costs teaching resources created by teachers that are available for download.
Gennifer’s favorite school memories were doing art and craft projects at her bilingual elementary school. The school subjects were taught in both English and Spanish and the class celebrated many Hispanic cultural events. She enjoyed crafting paper mache piñatas for Cinco de Mayo, making sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos and creating Mexican fiesta lanterns with colorful tissue paper. Her love of handmade goods continues to this day and remains one of her favorite pastimes.