The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: Kids’ Summer Curriculum Sampler

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kids’ Summer Curriculum Sampler

During the summer, children relish the lazy days without homework, projects, and early rises for school.  However, by September, their teachers bemoan their lack of memory for common math operations and English composition rules.  Consider these inexpensive suggestions to keep your children’s brains engaged over the sunny summer months while they exercise their bodies on the playground and at the pool or beach, so they are ready for their teachers in the fall.  It’s a sampling of each class your children encounter in school:
  1. Math – If your grocery story doubles coupons, tell your children that for every coupon they find and you use, you will give them the grocery store’s contribution.  The only catch is that they have to calculate their profits before you hand over the money.  Also, encourage them to live by the 1/3 rule: 1/3 now, 1/3 for savings, and 1/3 for charity.  If you want suggestions for the charitable giving, read my book, Helping Kids Help, available at my website: www.reneeheiss.com/hkh.html.
  2. English – Your children will be prepared for the inevitable “What I Did During the Summer” essay if they keep a sensory journal.  Either buy or make a fun journal. Then on each page, have your children describe the sounds, sights, tastes, smells, and textures of summer they encounter every day.  Reward them for their journal participation with stickers for particularly descriptive entries.  For help with the sensory imagery, go to The Colors-Shapes-Textures Thesaurus.
  3. Geography – Going away this summer?  Then show your children on a map where you are headed.  Have them plot with you the route by car, plane, train, and bus, even if you’re only using one means of transportation.  Learn the names of cities along the way and any notable landmarks.  If you belong to AAA, get their TripTik, which is very helpful.  Otherwise make your own version of this travel tool.
  4. History – Believe it or not, most kids don’t know the local history.  Take a photographic journey through your town.  Mount the pictures in a real or digital album.  Then help your children discover the history behind each landmark.  If you create a digital album, consider creating your own book at http://www.snapfish.com/
  5. Reading – Your local library probably has its own reading program for children, so sign them up to join the fun.  If you don’t live close enough to your library, create your own fun by making a Bookworm Bulletin Board.  Start with an apple in the middle, one hole for each of your children, and then begin adding segments of a worm (circles cut from construction paper) for each book the child reads.  For extra fun, invite the neighborhood kids to participate, too!
  6. Foreign languages – Have a weekly worldwide lunch (or dinner) day.  Find a food with a funny name and then have French Day, Spanish Day, Australian Day, etc. each week.  Encourage your children to research what they want to eat on that day and let them help prepare and clean up.  Post words from the foreign language with the translation around the table.  Everyone needs to create a different sentence from those foreign words.  Here’s a fun place to start:  Mama Lisa’s World Blog.
  7. Science – Hold your own science camp.  Check out books from the library on science experiments kids can do with everyday items.  Designate each day of your camp for a different science topic: biology, geology, botany, astronomy, etc.  The next week, encourage your kids to develop a science fair.  Invite relatives for a barbecue to view their science fair displays. The homeschool network always has fun things the kids can do at home to encourage learning during the summer: http://homeschooling.about.com/library/blsumsci.htm
  8. Practical and performing arts – Give your kids lots of room to explore with this topic.  Encourage them to learn a new skill – sewing, decoupage, working on a car engine, cooking, metal working, etc.  Caution: This activity is contagious and could develop into a lifelong love of the activity!  Enchanted Learning has thousands of ideas.  Maybe your children can begin to make gifts for winter holidays.
  9. Philanthropy – Most schools recommend, and some schools even require, that children give back something to their community for the greater good.  Help your children to understand that giving money for charity is good, but doing something is better.  Find places where you can volunteer your efforts, if even for one hour a week.  Studies show that when children volunteer, they develop into caring, successful adults.  To see how one girl hosts a charitable birthday party based on the Care Bags Foundation, read Somebody Cares!
So what are you waiting for?  Summer’s just around the corner.  Consider assembling boxes of fun related to all the topics above.  There are nine weeks in the summer and nine topics.  Even if you pick only one day a week, instead of an entire week of topical fun, you will have increased your children’s potential for success in September.

Please post your own idea for extending children's learning during the summer.  Your idea may find its way into my new book on this topic ;-)

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