Yay- we have made it to summer vacation!!! As a teacher, I know that the first thing in order is to rest for at least a week! After that, it is definitely time to establish a routine to keep those students learning through the summer! Summer learning loss is a serious thing, especially for low income families. The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) states that these students are losing between 2 and 3 months of math and reading learning each summer! This regression is keeping the achievement gap wide open! Even if your family is not considered low income, summer learning loss is still cause for alarm. To help with this, I am sharing the methods that I use with my children to keep them learning throughout the summer.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, but all opinions are my own.*
1. Find an online summer program for your child to enroll in.
My county has a free program available online for students, but parents must register their children by a certain date. Check with your school district to find out if they offer any summer programs for free. If this is not an option, check the below sites:
- Scholastic Study Jams. This site is one that I personally use, and is available for math or science. You choose the topic that you want your child to practice, they watch a video, and then take a quiz. This site is free, and, if you have your child study one math and one science topic per day, very helpful.
- PBS. PBS has an education tab, and includes topics ranging from math to music. I favor this site because it also includes hands on activities that you can do with your child to supplement the learning. This is another free site, so definitely worth checking out!
- Moby Max is available for grades 3-8. If your child’s teacher has assigned them an account, you can continue using it for most of the summer. If not, you may be able to register for a homeschool account to use. I like Moby Max because it diagnoses children based on a pre-test, and assigns work based on that. Students are able to work on math, reading, social studies, or science with Moby Max. There is a free version, but some features are limited on it.
- Time 4 Learning. Time 4 Learning is a paid site available for K-12th grade. They offer a summer program that can be tailored to fit your child, and a 14 day money back guarantee. K-8th grade starts at $19.95 per month, and 9th-12th grade is $30 per month. I have not used this site before, but it is one being offered by my district. Math, reading, science, and social studies are available subjects.
- IXL. IXL is well known in the teaching community, and many of us use their free services. You are able to practice a topic for about 5 minutes per day on their site for free. They also offer a paid membership for parents for $9.95 per month. What I do not like about their paid membership is that they charge per subject. That means if you want your child to study math and reading through them, you would pay $9.95 per subject…
- Prodigy. Prodigy focuses on math, but is another popular site amongst teachers. I have never used Prodigy, but have heard about it from other teachers. A free version is offered, and also a paid version for $8.95 per month.
- There are numerous printed resources that provide a guided curriculum for your child. One of my favorites is Summer Bridge Activities, because it is available for most grade levels. They also provide answer keys for your to check your child’s work. The prices for these range from about $8-$10.
Only one program is necessary for you to join, and it should target the subject(s) that your child struggles with the most. I require my children to work on the program for about 30 minutes per day, Monday-Friday. Of course, you could make your own schedule for your child.
2. Make Reading A Priority
Have your child read for at least 20 minutes per day! Also, hold them accountable for this reading. Laura Candler has a wonderful reading log that can be used, or you could simply have your child track their reading on a sheet of notebook paper. This Reading Mama has a reading log for the younger students- one that they can color. I also assign my children book reports for after they have completed a book. This helps with their writing/summarizing skills, and handwriting/typing skills.
Find new resources for reading, too. I do not buy many books during the summer, because my daughter would have me broke! Instead, we take trips to the library twice per week. We also frequent thrift stores and yard sales, which usually have AMAZING book prices!
3. Make Learning Hands On
STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) are major themes in education, and in job markets right now! Help your child develop the mindset necessary to succeed in this type of environment. STEM/STEAM activities are super easy to implement! Most of them use everyday items (paper towel rolls, tape, cardboard, etc.). Some of my favorites are:
- Egg drop (design and build a container that will house an egg and prevent it from breaking when dropped from a certain height).
- Catapult (design a catapult that will launch a ping pong ball through a hula hoop from a distance).
- Bottle Rocket (Use a 2-liter soda bottle to build a rocket that will actually launch).
The possibilities are endless with STEM/STEAM. Search the topic on Pinterest for more ideas!
4. Start Coding
Computer coding is another of those topics that are recurring in education and the workplace. Help your child become interested in this high-demand field. Code.org allows students to practice coding, and progress as they learn.
Hopefully these ideas got you jumpstarted with summer education. Even if your child is an all A student, summer learning is beneficial to them.