The lazy days of summer are upon us. If left to their own devices, my kids would easily slip into low gear for the summer — sleep late, watch TV all day, and banish all learning activities. Lots of kids lose ground in their educations over the summer, and according to experts, the brain drain is most pronounced in subjects such as reading and math.
You don't need a hard-core curriculum to keep your kids' brains from turning to mush over the summer. Here's how to banish summer brain drain and keep those brain gears churning:
1. Keep lots of books around and make time for your kids to read them. We instituted a new policy this summer where my kids start and end their day with reading. It's an easy-going way to get going in the morning and a relaxing way to settle down for the night.
2. Look ahead to next year's curriculum and pick up a few books from the library on those topics or plan a few trips to pique their interest. For instance, if they will be learning about the American Civil War, try to visit a nearby battlefield. If it's fractions, ask your kids to help cut up their dinner (pizza is perfect for this) into halves, quarters, eighths, etc.
3. Pick up a summer reading list from your local library and challenge your kids to cross off as many titles as they can over the summer. Most libraries have a summer reading program that offers prizes to kids who read the most books.
4. Keep math in mind. Kids lose more skills in math than in any other subject over the summer, so seek out math-related activities whenever possible. Ask your child to help you add up the grocery bill while you shop or figure out the tip the next time you eat out.
5. Consider a tutor. If your child struggled in school last year, now is the perfect time to enroll him in summer school or set up private tutoring to help her get ahead.