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Summer Vacation is for Learning!

July 25, 2011

Most children feel that summer vacation is not just a time to relax and hang out, but also a time to not use their brains.  School’s out and for them school is where their brain is most stretched and used.  But, it is important to keep the brain active by jogging their brain a bit during the summer.

There are a few things to initiate this process without making it seem like you want them to be doing schoolwork.  The first step is to talk to them about school.  What classes will they be taking next year?  Who are their teachers?  Are their friends in their class?  What are they most looking forward to?  As a parent look at your child’s curriculum and try and start this learning.  If they will be studying astronomy take your child to the space museum.  If your kids are studying another culture take them out to eat at a place that serves this cultures food.  If math is a struggle, or simply the next biggest subject they will be learning think about cooking.  All of the measurements really help, diving the food equally or between your family members helps, as well as simply playing with blocks!

Kids tend to associate school with not fun activities and outside of school activities with more fun.  This does not have to be true!  One study shows that kids who are happy while learning learn better.  So, let’s try and put a smile on while learning!  You could play charades with books your kids recently read.  You could play word games to practice handwriting and spelling.  Most of your family games teach math, patterns, and logic!  (Clue is a great game to practice logic and monopoly is good for math!)

The next step is to think about your child’s usage of electronics.  It is not necessarily the amount of time, but what they are doing on them.  Today there are a lot of great learning electronics, but their needs to be a balance between electronics and human interactions.  One can implement a no electronic time during dinner, or before bed.  One can have an electronic basket where you place your electronic devices on “off” during this no electronics time.  It is important to teach your children that electronics are fun, but so are a lot of other people!

One of the best times to answer the question of “Why is this important?” is during the summer.  Make what your kids are learning relevant.  If they will be gardening, start your own garden and show your child that you can eat what you garden!  If they are studying math, ask them to assist with payments at the grocery store.  If they are learning about history go to the natural history museum.  By showing your children that what they learn is important they will be so much more willing to learn.

Lastly, as a parent by being very involved you will be able to find the gaps in your kids learning.  Create a relationship through learning.  Ask your child to read a book to you, and then you can read one to them.  Write a math problem for your child, and then have them make one for you.  Make learning something fun where you and your kids can bond.

We love learning and we want our kids to also!

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