School’s out. Summer’s in. Time to trade in bed times for bicycles and ice cream trucks. Right? Yes, but it’s also time to try to do some summer learning. I know; I’m such an annoying mother. I should let them run free from morning until night and forget about learning anything important until school starts up again. But, if you know me at all, you know I’m a bit of a nerd and I’m proud of it. I like to learn. I like to create things. I like to read. I like to teach my kids things. Luckily, my kids like learning things too.
My older daughter starts Kindergarten in the fall while my younger daughter will start with her two mornings of pre-k. What could kids that age possible have to learn you may ask? Well, a lot if. We went to my daughter’s Kindergarten orientation last week and let me tell you, things have changed quite a bit in thirty years. Gone are the days of play kitchens and finger paints. They’ve been replaced with site words and writing. Little kids are certainly expected to know a lot at a young age. It is kinda sad that my kids will not be able to enjoy a lot of the fun things I did at their age. But, it seems our kids are being forced to be smarter and more competitive for when they become grown-ups.
I’m not putting my kids in some summer learning boot camp, but we will be doing daily exercises to get their brains moving. I put the little people in my head to work to devise a plan. They’ve come up with three steps for summer success:
1. ABC’s of Summer: My daughter’s school provided us with letter and number packets so she can learn to write. She’s already done the alphabet in pre-k and can write her name, but there are some letters that are still giving her problems. So, each day we will focus on one letter. I’m also going to ask her to come up with one word for each letter. I try to find summer related words, but sometimes that’s not the case. Hopefully, this will help when she starts to read on her own. As for my younger daughter, she likes her Leap Frog Letter Factory. She uses it to recognize letters and their sounds. It also makes her feel as though she’s doing something like her sister.
2. Counting the Days of Summer: We’re going to use the number packets provided to focus on one number each day. I’m also going to use the calendar so she recognizes double digit numbers. I’m thinking of also using some pieces of fruit to work on simple addition and subtraction.
3. R is for Reading: We always read books, but this summer I’m going to start concentrating on comprehension. I’m going to ask my older daughter some questions about the stories. As for my little one, we’ll look at the colors the different characters in the books are wearing so she can get that down.
That’s it? Yep, that’s it. I think my little plan is just enough. I can tell you it is already working. We are only four days in and my daughter asks me to do her letters and numbers. Getting her and her sister to sit down for a story is sometimes a little more challenging, but we’re working on it.
In order to pave the way to success, I try to do these lessons in the morning after breakfast. I also keep the whole lesson to fifteen to twenty minutes. I find my kids learn better in the morning. I also find I can really keep their attention for that amount of time. Anything past that and the ants start dancing in their pants. I know a lot of parents don’t have the luxury of sitting with their kids in the morning. But, I think this is something that can be done before or after dinner. It’s short enough that I think it can be done any time that works for you.
I’ll be curious to see how much we improve on our letters. numbers, and reading by the end of the summer. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, what do you do to keep your kids’ minds busy over the summer?