Should summer vacation be a full on vacation from learning or should parents try to work some educational activities in there? What about actual school work, such as math workbooks or non-fiction reading? How do you handle summer vacation with your children?
I really believe that three months is too long to go without any structured learning. I know that if I allow my son to waste his entire vacation on video games and television and even playing outside with friends that he’ll forget half of what he’s learned this year. In most schools the teachers have to spend a few weeks reviewing material from the previous grade just to get the kids back up to speed. This year? I have a plan.
Eeyore is going to continue working on his second grade math workbook. The math program we have is for thirty-six weeks of school, but because we only did math four days a week for awhile we still have four weeks worth of lessons to go. This actually works out quite well, because math is Eeyore’s toughest subject. By continuing with math all through summer (maybe two or three days a week depending on our schedule) the math concepts will all stay fresh in his mind and he’ll be able to jump right in to third grade math with no problems and no need to review a lot of second grade concepts.
Another way I am planning to use the summer is to teach Eeyore cursive writing. He doesn’t enjoy writing very much, so I try to plan our day with lots of breaks in between writing assignments. For example, he does his math (writing) and then we read our history book (no writing) before going on to his phonics workbook (writing). Switching back and forth seems to keep him from being overwhelmed, but I know that as he gets older he is going to be writing a lot more and breaking it up won’t be an option. I’m going to try easing him into this by teaching him cursive over the summer so that he doesn’t have that extra time learning cursive during a regular school day that will already be filled with writing assignments. (How many times can I say writing and cursive in this paragraph? TOO MANY.)
We will probably join our library’s summer reading program, although Eeyore loves to read and that really isn’t an issue. He reads a few chapters of a book he chooses each night before bed anyway. I do think that the extra motivation of a summer reading program will be nice and hopefully inspire him to read a bit more during the day rather than turning to me and telling me he’s bored. A lot of the books he has are Magic Tree House books and I love to see him reading those.
Eeyore will also continue taking Spanish classes over the summer at a local learning center. He will also be taking a science class there once a week as well. Both classes are presented in a fun way and he loves to attend.
This sounds like quite a bit, but I estimate that we’ll spend about an hour three days a week on math, a total of an hour a week on cursive, and two hours each week at his Spanish and Science classes. All in all, six hours a week isn’t such a bad deal.
What plans do you have to keep your children’s minds working over summer break? Or do you believe that a break is a break and not worry about educational activities during summer break?
Photo graciously provided by Guacamole Goalie, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved