As of the writing of this post, we have 17 days of school left for the 2022-23 school year. So many mixed emotions exchange places in me throughout the day. All teachers feel the rush to get grades entered and finalized, teach last minute curriculum, and spend so much time figuring out what to do the final week of school to keep kids engaged. There are files to exchange with other schools, IEP meetings to finish having, and rooms need to be organized/inventoried/packed away. It’s no wonder Little Man and I come home and want to take a nap every afternoon!
With all the anticipation of sleeping in and not having to rush around in the morning, I also get a bit nervous. Kids who don’t read or stay active will lose basic skills by the fall. I see it every year. My students in particular drop about a grade level in their reading and math abilities. Teachers spend the first week with introdictions and teching rules and procedures. Then the next five weeks are re-teaching concepts from the year before!
This drop in ability is known as the Summer Slide. Today I want to share some solutions to beating the Summer Slide.
Solution #1: Authentic Reading and Math
The biggest way to avoid the summer slide is to read and work on math every day. I know, I know. Pretty obvious answer. Some ideas that I use at home include:
- 1 minute of reading/math = 1 minute screen time
- Specifically set a time every day to read and do math -I suggest 20 minutes each
- Read aloud as a family or listen to an audio book
- Sign up at the local library for a reading program
- Check out local places for reading incentives (Barnes and Noble usually has one)
- Make a goal and keep a list of the goal — either number of books, or minutes, or days (here is a graphic organizer with options)
- Put books around the house – baskets, shelves, counter and table tops, bathroom – and switch the books out often
- Have them research the questions they ask you
- Take them shopping or give them a budget they need to stick to
- Play games – I love the games at Simply Fun because they review math and reading skills (as well as social/emotional) and everyone in the family can play! This is an affiliate link, so if you do make a purchase I will be compensated for it.
Solution #2 Activity Jar
We started this a few years ago, and have kept adding to it. Get a container and strips of paper — we used colored paper in the past but have switched to white more recently. Before your summer break begins, write down all the things they want to do. Our list has included things like this:
- Specific hikes we want to take
- Learn to draw something new
- Find bugs to watch
- Visit the library
- Watch a movie together
- Make a blanket fort
- Paint rocks
- Make a craft
- Local places of interest in each county of our state to go visit
- Write a story
- Paint a picture
- Build something (birdhouses, race track, Lego)
- Volunteer or Service scavenger hunt
- Plant flowers
When they say “I’m Bored!” they draw something from the jar and that is what we have to do. Another solution I like is the Family Adventure Challenge book. No, I am not sponsored by this company. If you make a purchase I don’t make any commission.
Here is free activity calendar and some ideas for you to start you on your own Activity Jar.
Solution #3: On The Go
Summer means trips and vacations! There is a lot of learning to do while on the go. I personally have books and activities in the vehicle all the time. Right now our current favorites are joke books and Wipe-Clean cards.
While we are out and about, we play lots of games. Alphabet Game, License Plate Game, and I Spy. We also give each other story problems to solve. When I was younger, I like to play lateral puzzle games. I found some here. Basically, they are riddles where one person knows the solution and the others have to figure it out asking questions that can be answered with Yes/No questions.
Have the kids help out with the planning of the trip. Give them a blank bank book to track their spending. Teach them to calculate distance or gas milage. If you eat out, they can figure out the tip!
Solution #4: Book Club
Last year was the first year I did this — but I had been planning them since 2020. This year I’m running another one online and in person! Summer Book Club runs in conjunction with a reading incentive program where kids plesge to read for 30 minutes a day for two weeks. During those two weeks, they gather sponsorships from family and neighbors. At the end of the Club, they use the money they get to purchase new books and activities for the summer.
This year Book Club will be reading Leo’s Map of Monsters and doing some STEAM activities. There are differentiated activiteis for those in younger elementary, upper elementary, and even middle schoolers.
Tuesday June 13: Maps and Monsters
Thursday June 15: Catapults
Tuesday June 20: Sewing
Thursday June 22: Circuits
Ask to join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1416653705818097
Solution #5: Write On!
I tell my students to keep a journal over the break. Here are some ideas of things to write:
- Journal activities for each day
- Write a story
- Research an animal, a place you are going to visit, or a question they have asked and write up a research paper or Top 10 Things to Know page.
Solution #6: Healthy Minds
As much fun as summer can be, sometimes the unstructured down time or too many activities creates stress on everyone.
- Create a routine. It doesn’t have to be strict. We have a set time to wake up every day. There are certain activities we do on certain days. Below is a look at our summer outline.
- Make family time a priority. Building bonds between family members should be fun and top of the list.
- Find a balance. It is okay — even great– to not have each day scheduled out. Kids need down time. They need to be bored! Take away the electronics and allow them to get creative!
Solution #7 Something Old, Something New
Kind of sounds like I’m prepping for a wedding doesn’t it? What I’m really talking about is switching out books on shelves. I make it a habit to clean out closets and bookshelves in the same week. If your kid has outgrown clothes, they have outgrown books!
At my house, we have a bookshelf full of books that we have outgrown, but are still favorites to look at. Some of these will go into vehicle rotations – expecally if I can recite it from memory so I’m still able to “read” it while I drive! The books that don’t make the cut are passed on. We find free libraries (we need to make one for our house) or give to charities. With the new shelf space, they get new books that spark interest in current passions.
Looking for a discount on new books? I have a solution for that as well! Check out my online shop. If you would like suggestions for specific books, please reach out to me. Text at 801-430-9920, message me on Facebook, or leave a comment below and I will reach out to you!
Solution #8 Extra Support
Sometime kids just need some extra support to help them make progress. If you are looking for support in Reading, Writing, Math, or Speech, I may have a solution for you! I have some open summer slots available. For kiddos who need some speech support, Brooke is an amazing speech and language pathologist. Please contact either one of us for day and time availability.
Solution #9 Become an Entrepreneur
Kids are expensive — and then they want to be involved in things that cost money in the fall. I’m not complaining, just pointing out a fact. Over the summer is a great time for them to come up wiht ways they can earn some money even if they aren’t old enough to hold a “real” job.
SIt down as a family to determine how much money they would like to make. Brainstorm ways to generate that money that they can do mostly independently. When I was little, my brother and I grew vegetables and sold them to the neighbors along wiht wrapping paper, cards, and books. My older girls helped me compile a cookbook and they sold those to raise money for choir and theater trips in high school.
If you are looking for a super easy fundraiser to get them started, I have your solution! Our Cards for a Cause program is super easy. My youngest spent 2 days selling cards and made $169!
Quick run down: boxes sell for $30 (that is a dollar a card) and you make $13 for each box. Minimum is 15 boxes. You can preorder the boxes and sell them right away, or you can take orders and go back to deliver. These cards look like the $3 ones you purchase at the store!
If you have a group or organization that is looking for a quick way to raise money, this is a great non-food idea. Again, message me below, or text CARDS to 801-430-9920 and I will get you everything you need to get started.
Solution #10 Passion Projects
What are things your kids LOVE doing right now? R is into Japanese and building things. Little Man is into robots. This summer they will pick a way to become the expert in this area. Research, hands-on activities, museums all serve to build their knowledge. Volunteering is a great way to show off skills and also give back.
Help your kids each come up with somehting they want to master or start learning about. Maybe it is an old skill they want to hone, an old interest they want to pick up again, or a new thing that just crossed their radar. Summer is a great time to work on those things — plus you get to brag about it when school starts up in the fall!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Learn to plan an instrument
- Learn a new language
- Write a book and self-publish it
- Paint, draw, pottery
- Wood working
- Pick up a new style of dance
- Weight Lifting or nutrition
Call to Action
I’m so excited to see what you decide to do! Please leave me messages here or on my social media pages. I hope that you have a fabulous summer filled with sunshine, laughter, and lots of LEARNING!