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10 Tips to Keep Your Kids Learning This Summer

I start every summer cScreen Shot 2013-06-14 at 1.38.42 PMonvinced that my kids and I will read a million books, do flash cards, write stories and journals and become smarter people. We will not succumb to the lure of the TV! We will not lose everything we learned over the summer!

But it’s like everything else with me: great intention, good start and limping over the finish line by the time Labor Day rolls around. So I asked my friend, author, speaker and education expert Ann Dolin for some help. Because according to her, kids can lose up to 15% of what they’ve learned the year before over the summer.

Here are her suggestions:

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  • Shall we? 1 of 12
    Shall we?
  • Do Not Go Forward Without a Plan 2 of 12
    Do Not Go Forward Without a Plan
    Reach out to your child's teacher(s) before the school year ends for suggestions on books and activities for summer learning. If your child is weak in a particular subject, summer is a great time to fill in the learning gaps and boost confidence.

    Photo credit: Geoffry Whiteway.
  • Create a schedule and put it in writing. 3 of 12
    Create a schedule and put it in writing.
    This is perhaps the most important thing you can do BEFORE summer starts. Sit down with your child and agree upon a daily time dedicated to practice (don't call it homework!). For most kids, morning is best. Twenty to thirty minutes each day or three days per week is all you need.

    Photo credit: Amazon.com.
  • Don’t Wait. 4 of 12
    Don't Wait.
    If you wait until late July or August to think about summer learning, your child will likely resist your attempts. When children know what to expect early on, they are more likely to comply.

    Photo credit: Chance Agrella.
  • Get Help. 5 of 12
    Get Help.
    Sometimes, even the most efficient parents feel overwhelmed with two and a half months of unstructured time. Consider hiring a tutor and asking him or her to leave behind practice materials for your child. Many students work better when the teacher isn't mom or dad. If money is an issue, try doing a tudor swap with another parent - you teach their kids, they teach yours.

    Photo credit: Geoffry Whiteway.
  • Look for Non-Traditional Books. 6 of 12
    Look for Non-Traditional Books.
    For students that resist working from a workbook consider an online reading program. There are lots of free websites. Check with your kids' school or teacher for age-appropriate suggestions.

    Screen shot from Literactive.com.
  • Kindle or Nook. 7 of 12
    Kindle or Nook.
    For your tween or teen, consider purchasing of an e-reader. Teens love electronics and are much more likely to read if they just need to flip the switch on their e-book. Moreover, once they finish with one book, the next book is at the tip of their fingers in their e-reader storefront. Basic Kindles start at $69 new and can be found cheaper used.

    Photo Credit: Amazon.com.
  • Let Them Read What They Want. 8 of 12
    Let Them Read What They Want.
    Unless a particular books is required by the school, don't force your child to read "quality literature" that may not be of interest. Reading a comic book or graphic novel is reading! Allow your child to read magazines, books on topics of interest, or books based on movies they've seen or want to see.

    Photo Credit: Wikipedia.
  • Don’t Forget Writing. 9 of 12
    Don't Forget Writing.
    Did you just return from a family vacation or is your son or daughter attending camp? Work with them to document these summer adventures in a scrap book with written captions. This is often more appealing than writing an essay!

    Photo Credit: Amazon.com.
  • Encourage Them to Write Reviews. 10 of 12
    Encourage Them to Write Reviews.
    For each book read, encourage your child to submit a book review to Amazon. This is a great way to practice writing a topic sentences and good supporting details.

    Screen shot from Amazon.com.
  • Don’t Forget Math. 11 of 12
    Don't Forget Math.
    In the area of math, use the internet! Practice problems and activities are based on topics, such as multiplication, decimals, fractions, etc. so you can pick and choose. There are plenty of colorful explanations for how to work the problems which is especially important for students who need to brush up on the "how" of math.

    Screen shot from Cool Math 4 Kids.com. Ann recommends this free site.
  • Meet Ann! 12 of 12
    Meet Ann!
    Learn more about Ann and subscribe to her awesome newsletter on her website. Check out her book on Amazon.

Please join me here for more Rants in My Pants (they’re not catching). You can also find me at Rants from MommylandFacebookTwitter, and being really stupid on Pinterest.

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