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Easing School Transitions for Military Families
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BEWARE!  The Summer Slide

05/26/2015 Published by: Amy Soupene

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Categories: Your Child's Ages & Stages, Your Child's Ages & Stages

To help your child avoid it, you must first clarify what it is!

The Summer Slide is:  

A.  Metal and gets hot in the sun
B.  Bright yellow with lots of twists and turns
C.  A phenomena that happens every summer to countless students

If you have school-age children you know this is not a piece of playground equipment.  This is one slide you want to avoid.  Students who check out for the summer and do nothing educationally lose much of what they learned in the previous school year.  Conservatively, students backslide and lose at least a month of learning.  In the fall, teachers must then spend the first month of school re-teaching skills from the previous year.

Summer is a wonderful time to relax and recharge.  Schedules are a little less hectic, time is spent at the pool, on vacation, or just hanging out with friends.  How do we help our kids keep their educational edge?  We don’t have to be task masters and assign homework.  We can, however, set the stage to make learning over the summer fun and not too difficult. 

Encouraging reading is a great place to start.  Read favorite books aloud and individually.  Let your kids see you enjoying reading; magazines, newspapers, books, even recipes, and directions! Since there are no homework assignments, there is time to get lost in a book just for the sake of enjoying the story.  Inspire imagination and prompt your children to author and illustrate their own stories. Or whip up something tasty in the kitchen; cooking incorporates both math and reading. 

This leads me to another key piece of summer learning – keeping those math skills sharp.  Take kids to the grocery store and let them keep a running tally of the total bill.  Or show them how to compare prices for the best deal.  Teach your children the basics of budgeting.  Lots of life skills revolve around being able to manage money and teaching your child math skills early on is important to their future.

The Parent to Parent program sponsored by the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®) hosts a workshop devoted entirely to the Summer Slide and how to prevent it. While we’d love to offer this workshop to everyone, there are just 15 Parent to Parent teams that teach in their local communities. If you are in the area, I encourage you to take part in one of their amazing workshops.

Is there a Parent to Parent team near you?  Find the locations of current teams  

If you can’t attend one of the workshops, don’t despair.  I’ve been given special permission for you to have a sneak peek at one of the pages from the workbook.  It’s filled with strategies for preventing the Summer Slide. 

Tips for Preventing the Summer Slide

As a mom, I know that as soon as you suggest a little “fun learning” you will encounter push-back.  So, be clever.  Make the lessons a natural part of the day, incorporate teaching moments without announcement or fanfare.  It’s as simple as, “Will you help me with ______?”  You fill in the blank; making cookies, writing the grocery list, figure out which peanut butter is a better deal, etc.  It’s up to you. 

Best wishes for a terrific summer from SchoolQuest and the MCEC!



***Help us get the word out about SchoolQuest™ by liking us on Facebook!   Please visit our Homeroom on-line community and join the discussion. We’d love to hear what your thoughts are about this important topic!  SchoolQuest™ is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition® (MCEC®).   Follow us on the MCEC® Twitter feed . . . for the sake of the child!  

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