Summer Slide (referring to the academic losses in the summer months) prevention is important to me. I have studied and seen the negative effects of a summer void of learning and want to prevent that for my kids and help other families do the same.
In the past, I had used ideas of Bucket lists (The list had to include a once a day activity and two trips one small like a weekend or then one was a trip down to the Florida Keys)but the list was intended to keep the kids active and learning throughout the summer months. Although the kids absolutely loved checking off each thing done on the list, I wanted them to do more reading and helping the community. Not so much of how to make the best slime, or what happens to Mentos when you put them in a Coca-Cola bottle. Although we had a blast last summer, I need more of a daily routine I think of writing, reading, and learning. I also wanted to incorporate what I had realized about self-motivated progress. My aim for this particular summer was to find a way that the kids could be involved in things not only to help prevent the Slide, but to show them empathy & gratitude.
About a week or two before school finished, I encouraged the kids to start thinking of some goals they may want to set for the summer. We talked about different kinds of goals including reading everyday, Journal everyday, feed the homeless, make summer fun baskets for the elderly etc. So, I told them I would read with them everyday for at least 30 minutes and start a daily gratitude journal.
After school ended, we all went to Wal-Mart (which btw no is a good time to buy school supplies all are on clearance). We got a science fair board to make our Bucket List, goals they wanted to achieve in notebooks (which we also all decorated our own with stickers and pictures). I participated right alongside the kids. Setting goals is nothing new. However, by giving the kids each new notebook, let them personalize it, made it feel more exciting for all of us.
It was so fun for me to see what the kids were really excited to work on. Here are some of the goals they chose.
We are making good use of our notebooks and even started binders as well to stay organized. Throughout the summer, I want them to write in their journal at least one memory making thing that they can have to remember. I know there are going to be days of "I am not reading, or not writing in my journal. But this is where I tell them how if you don't do it one day, your going to keep the mindset that you can do it again two days from now. With that, How do you expect to be able to complete your goals? Or Reading Challenge? So, with that said the "No Quitting" speech takes place :) So far so good, and it seems like a very natural way to keep the kids minds going while still having FUN!
The kids were super excited when they accomplished two of their goals already. I didn’t need to nag to keep them busy or off screens because they were motivated and excited about their own goal choices. The plan is flexible enough to fit our schedule and wide range in ages. It keeps all of our minds and bodies active, and organized! It is a simple, no hassle solution to the Summer Slide for our family. Most importantly for me, it helps keeping them focused and not driving me nuts saying how bored they are!~
*P.S.- it is extremely budget friendly too! The Summer Reading Challenge is free, all of the items 80% of them are from the dollar store (which in turn leaves more money to spend on our vacation trips)
Also Try Usborne Books where all of the literature is common core, with a twist. These are books that my kids love and can not put down. From the amazing characters, to cliff hangers making my two older children keep reading to the next chapter! All the while these books are award winning and based around their schools curriculum!How does your family prevent the Summer Slide?