What I Learned on My Summer Vacation? You’re Kidding, Right?!

Brain Games, Education

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Long ago, summer vacations were instituted for young people who were needed, by their family, for working on the farm, in the fields, or in the kitchen.  You know, places where few young people can be found spending their summers today.

Even today, for high school and college students summer vacations still serve a purpose.   A lot of kids use the summer months to work to save money for college.  But for the younger grades, the only purpose I can think of is convenience for family vacations.

The drawback to taking a few months off for summer vacation is that young brains tend to forget a lot of what they’ve learned.

According to Psychology Today.com:

University of Missouri psychologist Harris Cooper finds that children typically forget between one and three months’ worth of schooling during the summer. Math and spelling skills suffer the most, while reading is least affected by the break.

Now would be a great time to spend an extra hour each night with your little Einstein in the making.  Buy a few scholastic workbooks (you can find a great selection in the book section of just about any store and an even better selection at Teacher Supply Stores).  Even if your Eistein isn’t so little, extra mental activity is always a good idea.

Of course, the best thing to do is to stock up on these workbooks before the summer months and require a certain number of pages to be worked each week. Since most schools are already back in full swing, it’s too late for that.  Not to fret, though, you can still make up for lost time by grabbing workbooks and setting aside a little time each evening for a month or two.  Some parents and grandparents would balk at the idea thinking that it wouldn’t be a very “kind” or “fair” thing to do to the child. (What they’re really saying is that it won’t make them very popular with the young person.)  But you and I know that it would be the most kind and fair thing to do for the child.  It could make a huge difference in their upcoming school year – give them a little edge (and that’s always nice to have.)

You really wouldn’t even HAVE to buy workbooks.  Plain, old-fashioned pencil and paper will do just fine.  Come up with 10-20 problems for them to work through each night and give little spelling quizzes.  The benefit with workbooks would be this:  You’d know the problems were age-appropriate.  However, if you’ve been following thier school work, you should have a pretty good idea what they should and shouldn’t know.  If in doubt, get out their papers and books from the previous year. 

Believe me, when they “get” problems that their peers are struggling with, you’ll gain that popularity back and then some. 

A really cool bonus is that you’ll be giving your own mind a nice little workout each night.  If the child is really young, you probably aren’t going to benefit from revisiting math or spelling on their level (unless your math skills are as loatesome as mine!), but when we challenge ourselves to explain something to someone else in a language they understand, we push ourselves outside of our own comfort zone – and that’s always a good thing to do, mentally.

As if we needed another benefit, let’s not forget the sweetness of extra quality time with some of our favorite people on earth!

Make each moment count double,

~ Joi

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