By Heather Sliker, director of academics, Legacy Traditional Schools
The summer sun is setting and the new school year is on the horizon. If you’re like most families, summer has been full of swimming, spending time outside and family vacations, but with all that fun, the last thing on yours, and your children’s minds is preparing for school.
Each year during summer break, children are losing more than baby teeth and toys, they’re losing valuable classroom time with their teachers and critical math and reading skills as they progress to their next grade.
A study of the effects of summer vacation on achievement test scores found that a student’s learning capacity decreased after a long summer vacation. By fifth grade, experts say the “summer slide” can leave some students two-and-a-half to three years behind their peers.
But that doesn’t mean parents need to set up a classroom in their living rooms.
Students can be best prepared for the new school year by feeling confident about what they have learned in the previous years. When students feel confident and have high self-esteem it tends to motivate them and get excited for what they will learn in the new school year.
Here are some tips and activities for you to keep your kids engaged, their minds sharp and their confidence high going into the new school year.
Take trips to the museum or library. Much like a field trip, visually stimulating and active learning lessons can stimulate a child’s curiosity and yearning for exploration.
- Plant and grow flowers, or a vegetable garden. Kids tend to be more motivated when they see their hard work paying off. Engage them in activities that show the fruits of their labor.
- Use your school’s website to your advantage. Understand your child’s curriculum, the programs at their school and pursue ways to incorporate learning lessons into your everyday. At Legacy Traditional Schools, our phonics lessons are great tools to promote better pronunciation, spelling, and vocabulary.
- Review the school dress code. Every school is different, so before back-to-school shopping starts, be sure you’re checking the parent handbook and outfit your child with school-approved attire.
- Stay active. Cognitive abilities are closely tied to health. Keep the summer active streak alive through the school year.
- Ready your child to resist germs and sickness. A successful school year starts with a healthy body. Keep your children’s bellies full with healthy food choices and give their immune system the tools it needs to fight off germs.
As parents, we all want our kids to succeed, but the influx of information during the academic school year leaves most kids unable to stay engaged to retain the information through the year. Encourage your kids to try simple, stimulating activities to keep their minds fresh to start the year.
About the author:
Heather Sliker joined Legacy Traditional Schools in 2009 and is the Director of Academics for all Legacy schools. She has worked in education since 2007 and currently oversees planning, implementation, development, direction, review, and evaluation of curriculum services, federal programs, community education, as well as district/state assessments for Legacy Traditional Schools.