What’s wonderful about summer learning is that it doesn’t feel like learning; it just feels like fun. There is no classroom, no homework, no dress code. Children are free to be their true learning selves. They can chase their curiosity into tiny crevices, inspecting how ants carry food, or to vast horizons, daydreaming about alien planets far away.
Summertime is ripe for developing friendships and working on relationship building. It is also a time to have space and time to explore interests. For one person this may mean practicing the bass guitar for five hours and for another it may mean trying out a whole bunch of new activities. Summer allows us to step outside our routines and reflect on what inspires us and what we’d like to learn.
Ideally, we can do this and still minimize the effects of “summer slide”. Here, technology can play a useful role. As a parent I use the incentive of ‘screen time’ to encourage my children to make sure they continue to read and work on some math problems. I know I’m not the only parent who sounds the battle cry, “It’s beautiful outside! Turn the screens off, get outside and play!” I tell my kids if they want to use the “devices” they need to earn time by first using the computer to do a certain amount of math problems (or spend a certain amount of time working through problems), and spend an allocated amount of time reading.
If classroom teachers haven’t provided summer reading, there are great curated reading lists available online (Please post your favorites in the comments below!). And various websites such as Kahn Academy, ixl, and Mathletics pick up the slack if math packets are not provided for summer work.
Really, summer is all about balance. A healthy mix of reading and math, screens and outdoor time, pursuit of individual interests and family/friends together-time fosters growth while allowing for much needed R & R.