I am a huge proponent of keeping structured learning going through the summer, and this guest post by Alexandra Mayzler will give you some creative and fun ways to make that happen at your house.
Swimming. Long days. No early wake ups. Summer is arguably the best time to be a kid. It’s also a great time to learn outside the textbook. While mastering the basics in the classroom is important for future learning, exploring interests and pushing the boundaries of the imagination is just as vital to learning. There is no better time to go on adventures in reading, writing, and math than the summer. Use the less structured days to jump into fresh ways of learning.
1. Upgrade the lemonade stand. Learning to run a business allows students to use many of the skills introduced at school. A great way for a child to see what she’s learned in action is by creating a plan for a business or non-profit. Start by brainstorming a business idea together. Is there a hobby or craft that your child would like to turn into a business? Or a problem he’d like to solve? From there, have him draft a business plan, create a budget, and write accompanying materials such as advertisement and info sheets. For younger students, this process should be more basic and focus on reading, writing, and fundamental math skills. Older students can look into regulations for setting up businesses, research loan structures, and apply upper level math skills.
2. Create a mother/daughter (or son) critics club. A great way to get your child thinking during the summer is by fostering a conversation. For some students summer reading is a drag and most kids don’t want to just be asked “how was the book” or “did you like the movie.” Make reading or watching movies social either with family or friends. Pick a different theme each month and read and watch a movie on that theme. Watch documentaries and read historical fiction together and then have a discussion group. Ask for inferences, predictions, and spur further research. Play the critic by commenting on that month’s picks.
3. Explore together. Whether a longer trip or a day of experiencing new things nearby, exploring together gives kids an opportunity to learn about new things, discover interests, and broaden their knowledge. Instead of just bringing your child to the museum or taking her on a trip, encourage your child to participate and plan. Have her research summer activities and create an itinerary for the family. From there, set a budget for her to work in for tickets, snacks, and transportation. Once you’re there, let your child take over as the guide!
There is no better way to cement learning than putting it into practice. Use the summer months to help your child experience how empowering it is to use the skills she’s learned in the classroom for real-world applications. Learning doesn’t always have to happen in the classroom and it definitely doesn’t have to stop during the summer with fun, hands-on adventures!
Alexandra Mayzler is the founder of Thinking Caps Group. She is the author of several books including SAT Demystified and Tutor in a Book. Alexandra lives in New York and spends her free time thinking about how to make studying easier, more interesting, and above all, enjoyable for her students.