Summer is a favorite time of year for almost everyone. Time with family and friends, evening BBQs, a looser schedule and the best part... time to rejuvenate!
But as a teacher and mother, summer is also a time when I want to my kids to stay sharp and not forget all the good stuff they learned during the year. That is why I dedicate one hour a day to making sure my boys are reviewing and using their reading, writing, and math skills. This is not always one straight uninterrupted hour in the day. Sometimes it's 20 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes in the car, and 20 minutes later in the day. I work it into our schedule for the day, so the kids don't even know they are doing it!
Read anywhere, anytime, any place.... Read by the pool, read outside under a tree, read under a home-made fort with a flashlight...Just READ! Make it a fun and different experience. They don't need to be at a desk or table to read. The most important thing is to make sure they have a book in their hand and they are reading. If your child is not an independent reader yet, make sure to read to them for 20 minutes each day. This will help instill the love of reading and you get to spend quality time together.
Use flash cards or a deck of cards to brush up on math skills. Playing a game of WAR or Concentration is a fun way to review basic math facts. You can use these flash cards for addition & subtraction and multiplication & division practice too. I just cut them out and put them on a ring. Then, I time my kids to see how fast they can get through them. They love to try and beat their old time.
Once a week, we also take a timed test to brush up on our math facts. They try to complete all 50 problems in 3 minutes with no mistakes. If they are successful, they move to the next level. My kids thrive on beating the clock!
This is a fun way to integrate reading, writing, and following directions. Yes, your kitchen and children may look like this:
But, I promise you, it is something they will always remember and they will feel empowered!
Make A Summer Scrapbook:
Take pictures of all the places you go and of all the things you do over the summer. Whether it's a trip to the beach, the local zoo, or a special family adventure, make sure to take LOTS of pictures. Then, decorate a scrapbook and have your kids write captions for the pictures. This will help them brush up on their writing skills and record their memories at the same time.
Complete A Summer Workbook:
I always have my boys complete a summer workbook to bridge their skills to the next grade level. In the past I have purchased these books from Amazon:
My boys loved completing them and working for a prize. It may be a trip to get a Slurpee or movie of their choice. No matter how big or small the incentive, it is important to set a goal and reward them for achieving it.
I also created a review skills packet for my own second grade students. I sent this home with them for the summer with a new book. It helps them review all their reading, writing and math skills from second grade.
Whatever you do this summer for your students or your own children, make it fun and engaging. They won't even know they are reviewing skills they have already learned and they will be ready for the upcoming school year!