Summer Learning

just-have-a-great-day-merry-christmas-picjumbo-com - CopySummer vacation is every kid’s dream, but studies have shown that their academic skills backslide with three months out of school. As a parent, you can make a difference while still showing them that learning can be fun. Here are some ideas to keep their skills alive without making them feel like you’re working them all summer long.

Read to them and have them read to you: Libraries have summer reading programs with prizes. Look into those or create your own prizes for reading. Ask their teachers or your local librarians for book ideas. You can pick up great books at good prices from used book stores or thrift shops if you want to start building a library for your children at home.

Use shopping lists and coupons to help with math skills: Have them sort coupons when you create a shopping list and add up how much you can save. You might want to put one of your children in charge of coupons and let him or her have the savings as spending money.

Visit local museums and pick out books or learning tools at the gift shop: Museum gift shops specialize in books and toys designed to help children learn more about history or science in a fun way. Help them choose something that appeals to them and then spend time going through the activities once you get home. Be sure to take the time to discuss what you saw and learned during the outing.

Look into activities and classes in your community: Parks and Recreation programs offer opportunities for summer learning for every age. Check out what is offered near your home.

You can keep your childrens’ brains active and learning all summer long, so that next fall they’re ready to jump into that next year of school.

Helping the Teacher Teach your Child – Homework

14980249_SIt can be a challenge as a parent to decide how much to help your child with homework assignments. Ignoring homework and expecting your child to be responsible on his or her own often demands more responsibility than a small child can handle. However, it’s easy to end up doing too much for a child, limiting their ability to develop skills and personal focus.

The best place to start when deciding your role with your child’s homework is with the teacher. Every educator has a different perspective on homework and parent involvement. Speak directly with the teacher about his or her expectations and goals. This allows you to support the teacher’s efforts and your child’s learning. Here are a few general suggestions:

Set a schedule for homework: After a short break and snack, homework should happen if possible before dinner or early in the evening. Delay – a common tactic – just makes the process harder as bedtime grows closer. It’s also a good lesson to focus on work before play. Have them complete homework from hardest – while they’re fresh – to easiest.

Do your homework too: If you read, balance your bank account or pay bills while your children work on their homework, it helps them to see that even grownups have responsibilities. It’s also hard for a child to do homework when parents or siblings are having fun. Use homework time as an opportunity for the whole family to complete projects.

Keep it quiet: No television or loud music, even if your teen says he or she can study better with it. Find some soft instrumentals, recordings of nature noises or mellow classical pieces to provide a relaxing background if you like.

Provide guidance, not answers: The goal of homework is practice on what was taught in class or to give the opportunity to apply learning to new problems. Ask questions and go through the textbook and instructions with your child. This is more time-consuming, but you’re helping your child learn to think, as well as teaching that you won’t supply answers, just support.

Homework can be challenging but it can also be rewarding. Encouraging your child or children can help them discover the pleasure of solving problems on their own and finding answers without help, skills that will serve them well as they grow.