The concept of summer regression was all foreign to me until my kids started Kindergarten. The teachers and administrators at their schools would mention summer regression during the year-end PTA meeting and some teachers would mention it at the last parent-teacher conference. My mind started comparing how the body gets flabby when one stops exercising for several weeks and months at a time and then I got it…this is exactly what happens when a child’s mind is not stimulated and they fall off from a scheduled learning routine. Just because school ends for summer break does not mean in anyway, shape or form, that learning should halt.
In order to implement a summer strategy to prevent your child from regressing, one needs to get organized. First, it’s important to recognize the child’s accomplishment during and at the end of the school year, and celebrate. An appropriate reward and a week-long break is crucial for rejuvenation and then transitioning to summer school work. Yes, most schools demand that the child read a few books and write book reports and some provide math pages to complete, but that’s really not enough, to say the least.
Preparing the child with an introduction to the concepts they will learn in the next school year is beneficial in expanding their knowledge base, and building self-confidence.
It is not up to the school to do this, the caregivers must be the child’s best advocate. At the beginning of the summer work, explain to the child the purpose of the school work, expectations, and reward system.
At home, create a daily and monthly schedule for the learning activities, and designate a specific room and time for the work to be completed. Educational stores and online bookstores offer summer bridge workbooks aligned with core state standards transiting from one grade to the next, and are extremely helpful since most lessons are organized by day covering math, language, comprehension and reading in different ways. Grade level science and history workbooks are also available.
Make learning engaging and fun outside of the home by incorporating family trips to museums for science, history and art. Research tourists attractions and history together on the internet. Have the child write a ‘discovery’ report of the findings.
Visit the library and choose books from each genre and listen to audio books on long summer drives and vacations. Read books aloud and ask thought provoking questions that are age appropriate. Grocery shopping can be used for reading comprehension and math learning adventure with budgeting, creating lists, addition, subtraction, estimation, multiplication, reading labels and instilling life skills.
In the midst of all the fun summer learning, carve out time to play outdoors with age appropriate activities.
Staying organized, focused and remembering your child’s health, happiness, self-confidence, education and future success are all intertwined.
Sounds like a lot to accomplish over the summer. Rest assured, if implemented from an attitude of love for learning then everyone will benefit. The children will gain more than academics by learning time management, responsibility, consequences and maturity.
I had one request from my children and asked them to do their best efforts when they engaged in any activity. It did not matter if they succeeded or failed, it mattered that they tried their best.
“If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” —Jackie Kennedy