Making It The Best Summer

Summertime Boredom

As a child care provider I was very accustomed to children saying “I’m bored” or “There’s nothing to do”. In all actuality there are several available activities for children to do in the summer that do not solely revolve around television or video games. I know it sounds strange right? Parents, think back to your own childhood, what was your summer like? Summer to me was an adventure, being able to be outside and explore, playing with my friends, reading books without being interrupted, being creative and trips to the beach. I guess this is why I became an early childhood educator, these experiences provide support for early childhood development.

I am a parent now, so this “summer boredom” takes on a whole new meaning for me. This is also our first full year of homeschool and I have struggled with the decision of halting or continuing our routine in the summer. Even though this is my daughters’ first full year of schooling, I have been able to see that during any lapse in our learning can cause some loss of skills. The loss of skills as a result of a prolonged vacation is not a new phenomenon but one educators have been battling for many years. As a special educator I used to write reports and advocate for extended year services for children to insure their retention of skills and education.

School’s Out For Summer

Cue the Alice Cooper last day of school theme song!! I might be showing my age but how many of you played this or heard it on the radio as the school year commenced? I remember the pure joy of getting done with school, but I also know as a parent the dread of hearing “I’m bored”. So how do you beat the summertime blues? How do you help your child from the summer slide?  Well, I had the opportunity to read a book that helps parents with this dilemma. The book is called The Summertime Survival Guide For Parents : How to Create a Summer of Wonder, Discovery and Fun by Rebecca Kochenderfer. 
The book is available here on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. Currently the Kindle version is .99

For .99 cents this book is a great resource or jumping point for parents interested in making summer not only fun but a chance to learn about things that interest your child. Rebecca gives several tips to encourage your child’s learning without making it feel like “school”. She does not recommend you sit your child at a desk for six hours and practice multiplication but to find creative, fun ways to practice skills. This is important because I think there is a misconception that children can only learn in a typical “school” format (This is something that I have learned over my past year homeschooling, but that is a whole post in itself).

Some of you may be thinking, “my kids are sick of school, they will not be interested”.  Well, your in luck because there is. whole chapter on this very topic and other obstacles. Rebecca also makes it clear that summer learning is not summer school. It is a chance to practice, enhance and expand already known skills.  My favorite tip from this book is the “activity bags”, this is something I want to implement in our summer schedule.  She also includes some questions for you to ask your child, so you both can make plans for the summer together (involving your child will make summer learning more fun for them). One of my favorite chapters in this book is 101 Things to do This Summer, it is a huge checklist with resources full of fun and exciting activities for you and your child.

The book is a quick and easy read, but you will gain a lot of information and ideas. **FYI- this is not a curriculum book. It is a supplement book to full of fun and interesting activities to help children maintain skills.**

I Will Survive

I can not yet attest to the summer vacation, no school *cringe* with my child. I homeschool because I enjoy teaching her and watching her learn. To be honest I was not yet sure how I was going to approach summer; I have two options; to take a typical summer vacation or continue schooling through the summer. Initially, I decided to homeschool throughout the summer but cutting back the school week. This will give us shorter school weeks throughout the year and flexibility for sick days or unexpected events. The list of things to do in this book will give us plenty of fun things to do on the day we choose not to do school work.

So if you run out of ideas to do with your child in the summer, pick up a copy of this book!! I am sure you will find several new ideas to keep your child entertained and excited about learning!!

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