Keep Your Child Happily Engaged in Academics Year-Round
June 2, 2021
By: Jason Eisenberg Community Program Manager for Office Depot
The summer season is fast approaching, and while it may have been a tough academic year, your child is going up a grade and moving on to the next level, which means more homework and more responsibilities. But your child is most likely not thinking about that. They’re thinking about what they’re going to do (or not do) on their summer break! As a parent, you’ve probably got a mixed bag of emotions come June — you’re proud that they made it through another year of learning and adversity, excited they can unwind a little before they take on the next chapter of their academic life, and probably a bit uneasy because a) what are you going to do with these bored kids while you’re working? And b) you’re wondering how they’re going to fare the next school year, especially if you’re worried about “summer slide” or the summer learning gap.
What Is Summer Slide?
“The summer slide is the way in which some students seem to regress academically during the summer months. In schools that close for a few months every summer, students often lose some of the educational gains they’ve achieved throughout the school year.”
This often refers to reading skills, but summer slide can affect any skill set if it’s not practiced and put into use. You can help your kids build and tone their learning muscles this summer, and don’t let them suffer from summer slide. Here are a few ways to help keep your child engaged in academics through the summer. (Note that a mix of school and real-life applications may help maximize a student’s learning output.)
It’s about balance. Don’t bury your kids in studies all summer, but also don’t let them forget what they learned because it will make the start of fall even more difficult in what’s generally considered a stressful situation.
Workbooks and Kids’ Confidence
As a child, my mom always gave me workbooks two grade levels ahead of me to complete during the summer and school months. I loved it and was always excited to raise my hand in class to answer a question I learned two years prior. As a result, my confidence was pretty high, and it continued to fuel my passion for learning — I loved being called “the smart kid.”
Workbooks were pretty basic back when I was in K-12, but they’ve been updated to offer engaging activities requiring more than just pencil and paper. Summer Bridge Activities Workbooks offer lessons from K-8 with focuses on reading, writing, math, science, social studies, and fitness. Each book — categorized by grade level — offers 12 weeks of activities to try to keep your child busy all summer long and daily 15-minute exercises to get them ahead of the curve at the beginning of the school year.
Workbooks Are Not for Everyone.
What is for everyone (including parents) is STEAM education — science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The results of STEAM are all around us, ranging from the computers and tech we use to the buildings and bridges we stand on.
According to the Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM, “STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.”
The difference between workbooks and STEAM activities is that the user can see and understand the connections between the sciences and the arts. Instead of compartmentalizing math, science, and art, you’re tasked with drawing connections to them.
These projects can be for anyone aged 8 and older. So, yes, mom and dad — you can play to make it an educational family activity!
STEAM for Pre-Teens
Perhaps your 12-year-old is beyond what some of the younger STEAM kits have to offer. Maybe they’d like a fun and easy introduction to coding or want to learn how to create fun light shows. Juku STEAM kits present challenging tech projects for middle school students, including coding basics as well as creating and powering your own car bots! Don’t worry, parents; the car bot kit comes with enough for two 😉.
How Do You Get Started With STEAM?
Luckily, getting into the STEAM program is as simple as a subscription where your child receives a STEAM discovery kit each month. These experiment/activity kits are designed to expand young minds through STEAM. Here are some example STEAM kit activities:
Coding & Programming
Build a Pulley Machine
Learn to Solder
Build a Tiny Rain Shelter
Subscriptions are only $19.99 per month and can keep your kids growing academically year-round. You can check out all the different STEAM discovery kits available and find one that your child will love!
A Stress-Free Start to the School Year
Try to keep learning fresh and fun no matter what time of year it is. And remember, summer comes and goes faster than you think! When it comes time for school, try to make sure you have all the school supplies you need for success.
For more information about the National Parent Teacher Association, visit ptaourchildren.org.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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