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Avoid Summer Brain Drain!
Well, this "summer" is definitely different than previous years! To start, many international school students haven't been in the classroom since March and many public school students will unfortunately find their summer vacations shortened to make up for lost time.
Silver lining? The dreaded "Summer Slide" or "Summer Brain Drain" effect may not be as much an issue this time around. After all, many students have *already* been learning remotely, so plenty of parents are well-versed in at-home educational activities (for better or for worse!).
However, it still remains important to keep your kids' skills sharp during any downtime from traditional schooling, so check out our suggestions for FUN ways to tackle the task.
Five Finger Test
Before your kid starts to read any book this summer, one of the most important things to do is ensure that the book is at an appropriate reading level. While it can be good to "challenge" a young reader with a tough book, it can also be a real motivation-killer if they're struggling to get through it. Use this fun, five-finger test to help decide if a book is right!
Make it a Contest
If the amount of time kids spend playing video games or apps on their phones is any indication: they love a contest. From challenges based on popular TV shows to Mensa Foundation memberships, this list has some great ideas on how to spice up summer reading.
Go Beyond the Book
Some of the primary benefits of reading voraciously is that it expands vocabulary and an understanding of complex ideas. And for these, your children don't necessarily need to read in the traditional sense. Watching a fun musical about history, like Hamilton, can often be a lot more interesting than reading about it and listening to an audiobook, with each character voiced differently and sound effects, is more engaging than dry words on paper.
Whether or not your child dreams of being a mathematician when they grow up, ability in the subject plays a critical role throughout life - from budgeting for a household to telling time.
Math in the Kitchen
As anyone who has ever tried their hand at cooking or baking could tell you, there are a lot of fractions, addition, subtraction and time-telling involved in the creation of a successful dish. Putting math to use in the kitchen is one of the sneakiest, most enjoyable ways to get your kids thinking mathematically this summer without it feeling like a times-table test. If you don't want to sacrifice your own clean counters to their experiments, Tokyo has a few cooking schools that cater to young chefs.
Board Games for Boring Days
One of the staples of indoor entertainment - the board game- is also a simple way to incorporate mathematical concepts into a rainy day. From Monopoly's pricey real estate lessons to Game of Life's lessons on...well, life, there are tons of options you can play with the kids that won't make it obvious they're learning. This list has a few more suggestions for math games over the summer.
A Peek into Adulthood
One of the most common refrains we remember from our math classes: "When will we even use this stuff in real life?"
And while you might not often need to identify the third angle in an isosceles triangle, as adults we can all agree math is far more important in our lives than we gave it credit for when we were thirteen. Take your kids with you on household errands; have them help calculate the bill or balance your checking account after a day of shopping. For the younger set, a fun day of full-on adulthood can be found at Kidzania, where they can learn about bank transactions or even take on the role of a teller.
While there is always the option of summer school or a tutor to make up for the gap in learning while on break, making education fun and engaging is an important step in creating life-long learners.
Many of CareFinder's sitters have also worked as teachers, making them ideal alternatives (and a perfect opportunity for you to take a break!) this summer. Visit the Babysitter Search page to find the best sitter for your family today!