Did you know that students lose two to three months of grade level math equivalency over the summer, and that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests before school ends? Our summer learning plan was created to try and change these statistics for my children. It takes you, the parent, going into the summer with an action plan. If you don’t have a goal, you most likely won’t do anything significant. So, what is my strategy?
My plan is to have a daily rotation system for my kids. I have three children, so I have 3 “stations” in mind: screen time learning, learning with mom, and independent learning. Each child will be at their station for 30 minutes and then rotate onto the next station. After the 1 hour and 30 minutes of learning, we will have independent or group reading time for 30 minutes and then we will be done for the day. I may take a break in between depending on what I read from my kids. We are currently in the middle of the Narnia series, so we will definitely want to continue our reading together there, but I also want to encourage independent reading this summer. I’m sure much of our reading time will be spent laying in the sun or shade in the yard.
Three Stations for Summer Learning
Technology can definitely be a challenging thing to navigate as a mom. While keeping it in check, I believe in embracing what technology has to offer. Yes, we should limit screen time. There should definitely be safeguards in place to protect our children, including teaching them how to avoid the dangers. Don’t let some of the downfalls of technology scare you away from using technology as a learning tool this summer. Our computer and/or tablet will be part of our rotation system this summer. There are some amazing learning apps and programs out there, and my kids will have 30 minutes to enjoy learning through electronics in our rotation system.
One program we have already started with my children is TenMarks (screen shot featured above). TenMarks is a national program available to you today and runs through August 31, 2015. It is available for FREE to every family in the United States. It is designed to accommodate students completing first grade through Geometry and Algebra 2. TenMarks received the 2015 CODiE Award for Best Math Instructional Solution, and data from last year shows that their program helped reverse summer learning loss for over 69% of participating students with just 8 weeks of use.
We have begun to use TenMarks, and I think it will be a good program for my girls. It starts with an assessment of where my kids are at in their math learning, and then it personalizes a summer curriculum that will not only review the concepts they have already learned, but it will also begin to introduce concepts for the years ahead. It has hints and video lessons that go along with each question. This program does not have a number of games, but it is pretty straight forward with the questions and instructions. Kids are encouraged to do paper and pencil work on the side to be able to answer some of the questions.
After solving a handful of problems, they are given immediate feedback so they can self assess, and the program gives the opportunity to go back and correct their answers.
Kids can earn badges, certificates and games within the program. Further, we were able to make a goal for my girls and decide, as a family, what kind of reward we would give if the goals for completion are reached. I am excited to see my kids reach their math goals this summer and keep their learning on track with TenMarks.
Learning with Mom
The next station is a time where my kids can work with me. I am a teacher turned SAHM, so I love working with kids on learning. I’m highly aware that some moms don’t feel as equipped to teach their children, so I want to give you some resources here. Here is a link to my favorite reading games that I’ve blogged about in the past. I’ve written a similar round-up post that links to ideas for teaching children their letters. You could try Bubble Wrap Learning or Muffin Tin Learning for a number of subjects. Another option kids can do with mom is flash cards. I really want my kids to know their math facts. I plan on doing flashcards this summer. The best way for kids to learn with flashcards is to take a small handful out at a time. Help them memorize those really well, and when they know them, add another small amount to the pile. I would suggest adding 5 at a time to make it manageable and so that your kids can experience success. You can even play flashcard basketball to make it more enjoyable. Try and take the time for fun and engaging learning games. You want it to be a positive experience in your relationship.
Independent learning is also very good for your children to experience. This isn’t time with a device or with you. This is time where they are able to self-regulate. You might want to have a workbook for them to go through. Your kids can work on flashcards by themselves. There are many great learning printables online, including this Circus themed Kindergarten math worksheet set. Search Pinterest or the web for “printable” and the age and subject you are looking for, and you’ll be amazed at what is available for free or a small fee. For my preschooler, I have a number of dry erase options for him to practice tracing his letters, which is a great option for your little ones as well. As I said, we plan to do reading time separately, so I don’t envision my children reading during this time.
I encourage you to make a plan so that learning doesn’t slide this summer. Our goal is to do this learning rotation at least 4 days a week. We are going to be flexible for vacations and special events. I know very well that children should be allowed to be children and have a lot of time playing. Trust me, that will happen in our home enough too. That said, I believe that a bit of structure and learning over the summer is beneficial for all. Keep things in balance, and summer learning will be engaging and fun for your kids. Embrace some technology. Build your relationship through learning games. Help them gain independence. Make your own summer learning plan.
Compensation was provided by TenMarks via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the writer, Jodi Durr, and are not indicative of the opinions of TenMarks or MomTrends.