Monday, June 08, 2015

Summer learning

From a parental perspective, summer vacation is a mixed thing. If school has been your primary childcare during the year, suddenly you need a new situation. For some kids, the summer learning slide is real. But there’s also much to like about summer, too. If your during-the-year schooling situation hasn’t been perfect (and even if it’s great, it’s rarely that) summer gives a chance to try out new things. There are new friends, new programs to study certain subjects intensely, or even just a break from the routine. Gifted kids often like to throw themselves into projects, or spend all day reading a really good book.

We’re trying to get a mix this summer of structured and non-structured stuff. My 8-year-old has a week of church camp, a week of Lego camp, and 2 weeks of an outdoor camp. My 5-year-old has a week of art camp, and then the Lego and outdoor stuff too. My 3-year-old has 2 weeks at her pre-school’s summer camp. (The baby will be working on solid foods and sitting up). We’ll be hitting the beach for two different weeks over the summer.

One thing I’m excited about is my 8-year-old’s book club. He and a few other kids at school get together once a month to discuss a book they’ve read. They actually seem to discuss it too! (Unlike at a grown-up book club -- maybe it’s the absence of wine...) Part of the fun was simply discussing what his selection would be for the month we’re hosting. We got to talk about what kinds of books make good book club fare and what might not.

If my kids were slightly older, I think I’d encourage them to try something entrepreneurial for part of the summer. Even a lemonade stand can be a good lesson in math and marketing, and I suspect we will all need a lesson in marketing at some point in our careers. I’m aiming to encourage some more math-related games on my kids’ Kindles, and my 8-year-old has discovered the world of ebooks, which is fun. He’s got a lot of time for reading as he goes to sleep ridiculously late, and I make him go into his room at 8:30. The 5-year-old is deeply into Legos, and I think that some larger, more complicated projects will keep him entertained. Plus, he is just on the cusp of learning to read, so that will make for great discoveries.

What do you have planned for your kids this summer?

In other news: I have a new time management/productivity book out this week called I Know How She Does It. You can visit my personal blog, www.lauravanderkam.com if you want to learn more about it.

8 comments:

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

My son comes home from his freshman year of college at the end of this week. His plans for the summer include 2 weeks of theater camp (the same group he's worked with since he was 5), working on new products for his startup company, and maybe a trip to Shenzhen to line up lower-cost parts suppliers and manufacturers.

Calee said...

We are doing a mix of sports, outdoor and church camps with a CTY online class through the summer. One of the 2nd grade moms hosts a "girls camp" for one week where each kid brings a big Lego set and they work on it over the course of 5 mornings with some crafts and games thrown in.

Nother Barb said...

My high schooler is taking USH, working on 3 AP summer packets, playing music. My college kid is going to a theater festival in Africa and visitng a theat pal in London, rambling in Europe for a week and a half, and generally spending - not making - money. Earning credit hours though, for the festival nod related coursework. Last year he was in our state's Shakespeare festival, and while he didn't get paid he earned 6 credit hours and spent invaluable time with professional actors.

Somehow their summers get more and more expensive, the older they get!

nicoleandmaggie said...

Not doing daycamp this year for the first time. He is doing swimming lessons. He's got 3 homework books (Singapore math, a spelling/grammar book, a Zaccarro book) and he is doing some Python (as much as he wants) each day from a textbook for kids. There's also a lot of minecraft and pleasure reading going on. The toddler's life is no different than usual since preschool is in session year round.

Griffin said...

I'm so glad you linked to this from your main blog. A new world of parenting reading has opened up to me! My approach to our 3-year-old summer is exposure and physical activity. I aimed to have something different each month as a way of breaking up our nanny's schedule. June = a week at my parents farm and my college reunion. July = a week of church camp on the topic of bugs. August = two weeks of partial-day art camp. Our nanny is overseeing a reading program in conjunction with the local library that awards stickers if the twins read a certain amount per day and weekly swimming lessons. Since I don't use an ipad or Kindle myself, the twins only screen time is TV, which I allow daily and don't really worry about in terms of a minutes per day calculation.

nicoleandmaggie said...

Gave up on no daycamp and signed him up for daycamp. He's a chatterbox.

Anonymous said...

Swim practice, swim meets for both.

Duo lingo to keep up Spanish skills for both (plus me)

My younger son is going through a book every two days so many trips to the library. Math camp through his school (not sure if he is going to like it but he can handle 4 half days). And band camp.

Vacation and older son and I are supposed to do some volunteering together at a local organization.

Anonymous said...

Wow- it sounds as though you have a lot of good activities planned for your children. As a gifted and talented teacher, I am often asked of good websites and activities for gifted students to do over the summer. For websites, I recommend: IXL, Scootpad, and Prodigygame. All students love Prodigy- excellent for math skills and fun to play. Also, I stress the importance of playing board games. We see in the schools the damage to young students who do not have any idea of number sense. Playing board games (counting out the number of jumps on a board, spinners, dice etc. cement these concepts in mind of younger ones). In addition, reading, then writing about the story is also important. I always have my students write alternate endings, problems, and introduce new characters into a story that we or they have read. Having rich discussions about the texts helps with comprehension and creativity as well.
I raised my own four children always playing games and doing the above. They watched a little TV as well and turned out to be gifted, successful grown children. Life's good:)