Sliding Into Summer
It’s that time of year when students are ready to go running off into Summer and leave school far behind. I don’t blame them! I still fondly remember the Promise happily held by every Last Day of School: A summer filled with adventure, friends and fun. My Last Days never promised me a summer filled with learning, though.
Ironically, if you Google the term “Summer Slide” and start reading, you’ll be given enough articles to fill your entire season. Parents all over the country are providing learning opportunities for their children during the summer so they will hit the ground running come September. Bravo!!! Keeping student learning fresh and current is essential during the 10 weeks away from structured learning. As a teacher, I completely agree.
Having said that, I am also the well-meaning and exhausted parent of two children who fully buy into the Last Day Promise. They want adventure, friends and fun. There has yet been one summer where I have convinced them to embrace the idea of summer learning. I’ve tried special schedules stuck to the refrigerator, token systems, money incentives, schedules stuck to their bedroom doors, workbooks, library visits, book store purchases, chasing them around with the schedules, reading aloud to them and good old-fashioned temper tantrums (mostly mine). No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get the Great Reader to improve her Shaky Math. Similarly, I couldn’t get the Mathmagician to want read at all.
(Oh, except this one time, which I think the jury is still out on whether this was actual “reading”.)
And PLEASE don’t even ask me about whether my two cherubs actually did any writing over the summers. That’s just too embarrassing for all of us.
So, what’s a responsible parent to do, when it comes to supporting children during the expanse of summer, with the threat of Lost Learning at stake? We certainly can’t lose learning!!! WAIT!!! We are grown-ups! We know what’s best! We have access to resources and ideas and allowances. We are the ones with the driver’s license. We are the ones who make all the Adventure, Friends and Fun possible. There must be time during the summer for all of it, right?
I still have two children (though they are now 15 and 17) and they will still have to avoid Summer Slide. I imagine they will still avoid learning like The Plague. They are well-versed in my usual tactics and will no-doubt see me coming from a mile away when I smile and take out the calendar. So, instead, I have been trying to think and see things differently. What “counts” as summer learning? What is engaging to them while fulfilling the promise we have made to their new teachers? How will I balance between my “Just Do It” motto for required summer reading books and “Let’s Try” when it comes to alternative ideas? I’m off to explore those countless Summer Slide articles and hope to find some answers that work for our family . Wish me luck!!
I wish you luck in your quest as you navigate the realm of Summer Learning. If you have any great suggestions or advice, be sure to share!