By now, you may have established a schedule filled with worthwhile activities and time for day dreaming, long walks, and soaking in the sun. Perhaps your family’s summer schedule is providing all of the structure and freedom you desire, and you are feeling content. If so, that’s terrific – keep going!
It’s also possible that you are disappointed things aren’t quite what you’d imagined they’d be. That ceramics class you thought your daughter would love is unorganized and stressful. The mornings you envisioned gardening with your son aren’t possible because he doesn’t wake up until noon. It’s ok! You are doing fine. Part of successful planning is accepting when something is not working and responding with creative modifications. It’s time to adjust your sails. Discuss any concerns with your children. Ask them what they like and dislike about the way the summer is unfolding. Involve them in any tweaking of their schedules and see where these adjustments lead.
Parents often contact me with concerns about summer “brain drain.” Without structured lesson plans, they worry their kids will forget the skills they’ve worked hard on all year. I remember having the same concerns when my children were young. Thankfully, I’ve learned in my roles as both a mom and as an educational consultant that workbooks, tests and flash cards aren’t the only ways our children learn. There are so many fun ways to keep our kids sharp and to continue developing their skills throughout the summer months.
For instance, consider exposing your children to foreign cuisine, arts, and culture this summer. Don’t worry if international travel isn’t in the cards for now. In chapter 7, of The Summertime Survival Guide, I share lots of ideas to help bring this great big wonderful world right to your doorstep. And never forget, even a trip up the road to the local free beach is an opportunity to experience new adventures.
In addition, pay extra attention to all the fun ways to practice math and reading with your children this month. Plan weekly trips to the library, listen to audio books in the car, and enjoy family read-alouds. Practice math in the kitchen and play board games. Ask your child to help plan the budget for family travels and to assist with home renovations. For more ideas like these, see chapter 1, in The Summertime Survival Guide.
As you reflect on the weeks that have passed, be kind to yourself. Remember to love, laugh and play; model curiosity and a deep love for learning. Have fun with your kids and the rest will fall into place naturally.
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