Brought to you by Carolina Pad
Carolina Pad asked bloggers for ideas on how to prevent learning loss over the summer. Summer learning loss is a huge problem, and many teachers have to spend the first month of the school year getting kids back on track and re-teaching last years information. The most important thing to prevent learing loss is to keep the kids active and engaged during the summer. Summer can be a wonderful time for exploring new interests and sparking creativity, or it can be a boring stretch of days wasted watching TV.
I think the #1 thing you can do prevent learning loss is limit screen time. At the beginning of the summer my son and daughter gathered up their unused video games, turned them in for store credit, and bought 7 new games. If I let them they would be on the Xbox for 8 hours a day. While not quite as attractive for my kids as video games, the computer and TV can also be big time wasters and contribute to learning loss. So I have strict rules that they cannot use these things unless they ask first. This means I control the amount of time they spend on them, and they are forced to find other things to do, since I say no frequently.
One great learning option is outside enrichment classes. Some of these can be pricey, but if you look around you should be able to find affordable options. In my area these programs range from computer camps at the local community college for $200 a week, to a half day summer enrichment program in the neighboring school district for $25 a week. Since I’m cheap I guess you can figure out which program my son is signed up for! Even though it is cheap, the summer enrichment program is well run, fun and educational. This week my son is taking the classes “Music Mayhem”, which involves lots of drums, and “Model Rocket Building”, which is self explanatory.
He is learning and enjoying the time away from home. I am thrilled not to have to listen to “Your Are My Sunshine” on bongo drums, or launch model rockets in the back yard.
Outings and trips are also great for sparking interest. You don’t always have to go on a major trip either. This summer our quick trips to pick strawberries or fly my son’s remote control airplane in a local park have been big hits. When the kids were younger we tried to visit a different playground each week of the summer, just for the change of scenery. Even though my kids are older, a playground trip is still a fun summer activity, and always good for a few hours diversion.
But while all these are fun, don’t be afraid to let the kids get bored. Kids don’t need excitement and activity all the time, and sometimes being told to amuse themselves and figure out what to do on their own is just what they need. Boredom can give them the push they need to get creative and use their imaginations. Over the years boredom has driven my kids to read books, build forts, design games, create videos and write plays. They are much more creative than I am, and when deprived of an easy idea, like watching TV, they can come up with things I would have never thought of. This summer my son and daughter are researching alpacas. They are putting together a Powerpoint presentation, complete with a detailed cost spreadsheet, to convince us we should buy alpacas. They are learning a lot by doing this, and will be almost certainly be getting a big lesson in disappointment too, when we don’t get the alpacas! Leave a comment and let me know what you are doing this summer to prevent learing loss.
As the summer is winding down and it is time to shop for school supplies consider Carolina Pad. They have a wide selection of products, so your kids don’t have to settle for boring school supplies. Their Studio C collections are offered at Walmart, Target, Staples, Office Max and more. If you want to shop from home you can use the discount code BTS2011 to save 25% in their online store. (US orders only, expires 7/31)
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.