Although all of our children need a break from the routine of school, that does not mean learning has to stop throughout the summer. One of my children attended Forest School through Fort Whyte Alive and it was very clear how much learning took place even though he was not in the classroom at any point in time. I have always shared with many that I would not want their education to interfere with their learning and that holds true for the time away from school. The depth and breadth of learning that can and needs to continue for our children throughout the summer is crucial for maintenance and as a way of preventing a lapse prior to the fall.
When learning any new skills or strengthening any part of your physical or mental self, consistency is key. If we take time off of aerobic exercise or any form of strength training, our muscles and body become atrophied and the time needed to recover and return to form takes even longer. Similarlily, when we take any extended time away from our mental strength can often contribute to worries, concerns, and doubt going into the school year in September.
As a way of preventing any form of concerns related to confidence, Anxiety, and fears about starting school after a long summer break, implement school skills in an informal way throughout the summer. I am not suggesting you need to sit down with your child every day for 45 minutes to ensure they are doing 200 Math problems or reading 15 books in eight weeks, and writing elaborate essays. However, to ensure they can maintain their skillset from the year, think of alternative and creative ways you can integrate the content from the year in different ways. When taking them to the zoo, emphasize the learning that can go on beyond just looking at the animals. Use Math when baking and cooking. When building camp fires with your kids, have them count the number of logs they need, create Math-related equations with different types of wood so they can use their multiplication skills.
Whether your child is reading at a basic level or a more sophisticated level, have them read ANYTHING that is of interest to them so the mind muscles involved in that activity can be maintained. Any time you go on some type of adventure with your children, have them read to you. If you are watching movies with them or TV shows, turn on the closed captions so they are reading as they are watching. The continued informal practice of reading will only enhance their writing. Therefore, have them type out or write a short weekly reflection on what each experience has been like for them throughout the summer.
Above all learning can continue throughout the summer, but more so needs to so that the school skills do not become atrophied and your children have the confidence they need going into the fall. Preventing the loss of a learned skillset will be crucial for their confidence and competence going into the school year. Keep summer exciting and learning along the way!