Keep Your Child Happily Engaged in Academics All Year Round
May 8, 2019
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) for the next three school-free months! 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 when you’re at work!? And b) you’re wondering how they’re going to fare the next schoolyear, especially if you are worried about ‘summer slide’ or the summer learning gap.
What is ‘summer slide’?
“Summer Slide is what happens when the skills students learn during the school year are lost or forgotten over the summer. When kids don’t practice their reading skills during the summer months, they can fall behind by the time school starts again.” (Children’s Literacy Initiative)
This is often referred to reading skills, but summer slide can affect any skill-set if it’s not practiced and put into use. 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 keep your child engaged in academics through the summer. But note, there have been studies by PsychologyToday.com that claim, “… math calculations decline but math reasoning increases over summer.” It’s a mix of school and real-life applications that maximizes 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 summer and school months. Me being the weirdo I was raised to be, 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 to learn – 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, available at Office Depot in-store and online, 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 keep your child busy all summer long as well as daily 15-minute exercises to get them ahead of the curve at the beginning of the schoolyear.
But, workbooks are not for everyone.
What is for everyone (including the parents) is something called STEAM – 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.
Steam is an educational 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 ages 8-and-up, so yes mom and dad – you can play as well to make it an educational family activity.
Luckily, getting into the STEAM program is as simple as a subscription where your child receives a STEAM Discovery Kit every month. These experiment/activity kits are designed to expand young minds through STEAM – here are just 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 all year round. Check out all the different STEAM Discovery Kits at Office Depot when you’re doing your back to school shopping either in store or online.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is” and neither the author nor Office Depot, Inc. warrant 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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