Teachers, parents and kids alike breathe a sigh of relief as the school year starts to wrap up. Nine months of hardcore learning is exhausting.
Plus the school year usually ends with an Open House, which means kids are working hard or projects to show parents what they’ve learned. So, by the time we are looking at the last few weeks of school, everyone is staggering toward the finish line.
Summer break can mean different things to different people. Working parents need to line up child care and day camps. Stay at home moms rejoice in not having to pack lunches, but they know their duties double as kids are home all day long.
As a former first grade teacher, I can give you some things that teachers wish you knew about summer break. Instead of just giving you a list of things to do, I want to share some things that I hope will be helpful in enjoying the summer while still preventing learning loss. These are things that will help you
These are things that will help you live in the moment and also be ready for the next school year by the time it rolls around.
Summer Break is meant for…
#1 – Creating Family Time
Most of us run from the school day to soccer practice to home work time and then off to bed. There’s little left in the day to spend time as a family unit.
Take time this summer to enjoy meals together, sit in the grass, watch TV or play games. Anything works!
#2 – Decompressing
Teachers wish that you took the summer to relax. While we want to prevent summer learning loss, we also want you to have enough of a break you feel ready for the next school year. Try to allow a leisurely summer schedule.
#3 – Reflecting
Try to take the time to evaluate the previous school year. Was it helpful to pack lunches the night before? Did your children need a snack before they started homework?
Take the summer to think about how the last school year went and think about any changes you might want to make in the future.
#4 – Traveling
This relates back to the first point- creating family time. Sometimes getting out of your everyday environment is a way to make memories as a family.
You might be able to take a longer trip or this could even be an overnight camping trip.
#5 – Establishing Chores with a Purpose
As a teacher, I loved it when my students learned over the summer. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean math equations. I would challenge families to see a need and help raise money.
Give children their normal chores, but use some or all of the money to help a family in need, make a donation to a local homeless shelter or anything that’s on their heart. Growing in character is a wonderful thing.
#6 – Reading for Fun
Preventing summer learning loss happens when learning isn’t structured. Make sure the children are reading books that they enjoy.
If it means a below grade-level book, that’s okay. If it means a book that makes them laugh, even better.
Summer isn’t the time to make your way through the Newberry Award winners. It’s the time to read just because you want to.
#7 – Cooking with your children
The last activity I’d suggest is to cook with your children. It introduces math skills in a covert way.
Parents don’t always have time to engage their children while they’re cooking in the hustle and bustle of the school year. When you have a little extra time, use it to have some fun in the kitchen.
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