This morning it was chilly enough that my heat kicked on, so it doesn’t really feel like the right time to talk about summer learning, but it’s already June!
What does summer learning mean to you? For some families, a break from traditional school means plenty of time and energy to focus on projects like a family garden, travel, or volunteering. Other homes continue a more formalized plan with daily reading and workbooks. And some just wing it!
Every approach to summer is the right one, right?! Because every family is different.
In my home, we embrace student-driven learning – or, as I like to call it, lazy learning. When both grownups work during the summer, there isn’t a whole lot of time and energy left to plan enrichment activities or, even harder, follow up on summer assignments. So, learning that happens in our home tends to sprout from one of the kids’ current obsessions, or a stumbled-upon YouTube video, or a random dinner table conversation.
However it happens in your household, keeping the learning alive during the summer is important! Some students go back to school to discover they’ve lost a one or two months of learning—it’s called the summer slide. And that gap is even more worrisome for educators since school was disrupted during the pandemic.
Luckily, kids are natural learners. They are curious, competent, and always looking for reasons. By letting them take the lead and proving them with simple tools and encouragement, we can avoid a lot of that learning loss. Even just reading a book or two over the summer break is a huge help!
Hands-on activities are a great way to keep the learning alive all summer long. Design a catapult and learn about physics. Make a batch of homemade soap and learn chemistry. Extract DNA from a strawberry and learn biology. The possibilities are endless!
Image by the U.S. Army license CC by 2.0