24.4.17

Summer Learning Plans!

I can already taste summer and I'm just so excited! I can't wait to not pack lunches, to not rush out the door, and to have our kids home every day. This summer we won't have anyone in daycare, day camp, or any activities aside from their regular swim lessons, so it will be a lot of time together! And while rest is so key and just playing and swimming and frolicking to our heart's content is number one on our agenda, I am starting to plan ahead for way's to keep up with our kid's education over the summer.

Am I the most boring mom ever?! I hope not! I want our kids to have a marked break from the rigors of school, but I do want to keep engaging their minds during the summer months. Summer learning loss is a real thing, and since our kids are already at a disadvantage speaking a different mother tongue than they are learning in at school, I want to do everything I can to help keep their minds sharp as they're having fun in the sun.

Here are some alarming stats*:
  • 2.6 months of math skills are lost over the summer (!!!)
  • 2 months of reading skills are lost over the summer
  • Schools can only accommodate 6 weeks max of review at the beginning of each year (something isn't adding up...) 
  • As little as 2 hours per week of educational activities can combat summer learning loss.
Our kids speak English at home but go to French school, so already there is the language loss over the summer months. To combat that, I'm planning to organize play dates with our francophone friends from church and school, listening to French audio books, and reading French stories together. For English literacy, which is basically 100% learned at home for our kids, it'll be much of the same - books, books, and more books! Weekly trips to the library, audio books for down time (we are currently listening to free classics on Audible, and are in the middle of The Secret Garden), and tactile spelling games.


The learning resource teacher at Lily's school recommended wooden letters (Dollarama sells a set for $2, we bought two) in a large basket and playing word games as a fun activity. Sometimes kids get tired of pencil and paper but using new materials can make it interesting again. We've chosen random letters and asked them to find words, chosen letters when blindfolded and spelled as many words as they could that started with that letter, and just had them spell words on the carpet that they know. Our Letter Play board has been fun too. The kids have the small one in their room and they play with it every day!


We have also found a tutor for Lily that we're hiring for just a couple of hours each week to review math and French since her French wasn't as strong back in September. Imagine how many basic instructions one can miss when they're not fluent in the language of teaching!


We are also traveling a lot which is such a learning experience! When we're anywhere new we always try to soak up the local history, visit museums, and learn as much as we can about the culture. Last summer when we were in Iceland the kids became fascinated with Vikings, and basic activities like going to church or the grocery store provided lots of learning opportunities.


We will also be doing through catechism twice a day with our kids (I'll explain more in another post!) which will strengthen their memorization - a key to learning and retaining knowledge!


I absolutely love summer! We'll be at the local pool almost every day and visiting family and friends a lot. I'm excited for my kids to unwind and just be together, but now I also have a loose action plan for education, too. I suppose it's going to be a bit like summer homeschooling lite? We'll see! If you have any plans for stimulating summer activities, I'd love to hear them!

9 comments:

  1. Excellent post! Out kids aren't at school yet, but it's interesting to know that during summer there's a learning loss. Definitely going to dollorama buying some wooden letters! Thanks! ����

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    1. the basket is from Dollarama too! :)

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  2. My friend Vanessa suggested pouring a big amount of salt on a cookie sheet and letting the kids use their finger to write words in the salt for another tactile spelling game. Fun!

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  3. Great post! As a primary (French Immersion) teacher, I can attest that summer learning loss is real! It is always disheartening as a teacher to see kids coming back in September having lost some of their previously acquired literacy and Math skills...and Oral Communication skills if they are learning in a second language. So I think it's a GREAT idea for parents to do a bit of work to battle this! For French, another great resource for kids for listening to French is Boukili. There is also Tumblebooks, which you may be able to access for free through your school board. I also recommend Flash cards in french to work on some high-frequency words. For Math, I also recommend getting a Dreambox account (The best Math app, in my opinion.) and playing lots of dice games (snakes and ladders, etc) where you help them to work on mental math strategies like adding on from the bigger number. Good luck!

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    1. Thanks for these ideas Meghan! We have been doing flash cards for math too, I forgot to add that!

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  4. Anonymous27.4.17

    Reading at our house is a mandatory priority year long. During school year they have assigned reading, but to keep fun during summer they choose whatever they want. Since there is the summer book club at the library in Montréal and in our suburb, they are very invested in their reading since they can win prizes. In the 5 years we took part, we won something each year. For maths I find that basic board games and puzzles help... I suppose it works for us since I'm their teacher and don't really notice a lot of learning loss. And we usally take almost 3 months off... Vénusia (buttonsinacupmama.blogspot.com)

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    1. I have a couple of thoughts!
      1) your kids (and mine) are not "at risk" for summer learning loss as some children are. It's especially prevalent in low socio-economic, low education homes where kids are in daycare all summer long (or watching TV all day long)
      2) I'll bet you're such a natural teacher even in the "vacation" months since you are a homeschool educator! So I wouldn't expect learning loss to be strong in your family for those two reasons :)

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  5. Totally agree with no 1 ! 2 I don't know... but it's true that homeschooling is a way of living more than anything. I'm sure even in a non homeschooling home that your kids won't lost a lot during summer ! Traveling and meeting a lot of people is very rich !

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