I keep getting PR pitches about the “summer slide”. You know, the idea that by our kids having a measly 9 weeks off of school is going to break their brains? That all that great knowledge they got last year — over the other 40-something weeks — will disappear if we don’t spend our lazy summer days engaging in educational tasks?
This theory? I guess it’s supposed to frighten the bathing suits right off our backs. But I refuse to buy in. This mom is riding the summer slide — no hands!
Sure, my kids will continue to write “stories”. When they’re inspired to. (Or when they get in trouble and have to be separated from each other. So, come to think of it, maybe we will get some good writing practice in.) And we’ll continue to read each night. Because that’s just what we do. (At least that’s what we will do now that UCLA finally sealed their place in history with a College World Series sweep.)
But you know what we’re going to spend our days doing? Playing baseball. And soccer. And football. (Believe it or not, sports have taught my kids way more about math than I ever could.) Seeing how far we can swim before taking a breath. (Building confidence doesn’t require a pencil.) Road tripping. (So far we’ve discussed the California Missions, witnessed the wonders of farming, and used math to answer the age old question of “Are we there yet?”) Exploring. (Beaches, museums, our outrageously messy closets…)
Yes, we’re going to embrace the way-too-short summer and focus on fun. There’s no way my kids won’t learn along the way. That’s simply the nature of being a kid.
And, if you ask me, they don’t get enough time to just be kids. School is intense. The pressure to get ahead — and stay there — is intense. Too intense for my sensitive little souls. And their sensitive mama.
So this summer, my kids will be studying life. By getting out there and living it. And if I seem to be missing from the blog now and then, you’ll know where to find me. Right there beside them.
What do you think? Are you fending off the summer slide or riding it?
Uncle B says
Your kids are so lucky to have an active mom like yourself! I say hit the beach as much as possible and soak in as many rays as possible. Pink looks as though she is in the sun all day everyday with her amazing sun complexion. Plus if you count waves for the seventh wave–the big one, then your doing solid math in my book!
Amy, Using Our Words says
Great point, how did I miss the 7 wave count as one of my lesson plans? Love you!
Living and learning go hand in hand. I don’t think keeping up the school skills has to be boring, or replicating the classroom at home. It is easy to incorporate fun and educational exercises throughout the summer without it feeling like a chore or taking away from family fun time.
Reading is FUN! It is part of the joy of summer – lazy reading without having to stop for bedtime lest they sleep in the next morning. Board games and cards are a great way to reinforce math skills, and plenty of fun with a glass of lemonade on the porch when the sun is still out close to bedtime. (We’ve been playing Monster Math to practice addition and subtraction skills with my incoming 2nd grader who struggles with those skills.)
This is the second summer that we’re “car schooling” – listening to educational CD’s as we drive to each day’s activities and chores around town. Last summer, it was Story of the World, Volume 1 – history from ancient people through 400 AD, which sparked a passionate interest in Ancient Egypt and Greece in my son. We also liked Jim Weiss narrating Greek Myths.
This summer, we’ve got a rotation of songs about addition and subtraction, and Story of the World, Volume 2, and Here Comes Science! by They Might Be Giants. On a road trip later in the summer, we’ll listen through The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy. 🙂 It’s a captive audience and the whole family enjoys it (although the addition and subtraction songs aren’t my favorite!)
They’re learning just by playing, absolutely, but it doesn’t hurt to build skills and add more cultural literacy while we’re at it. 🙂
Amy, Using Our Words says
Great points, Jessica. You’ve obviously figured out how to show the summer slide who’s boss. I certainly agree that there are fun ways to teach our kids throughout the summer and that was more of my point. A lot of what I’m seeing and being “pitched” certainly doesn’t fall into that category — flashcards, worksheets, etc. And, honestly, when we’re in the car, rocking out at the top of our lungs and dancing to terrible pop music, well, I’m ok with that too. But knowing what’s right for our own families and kids is really what matters. Not what people tell us we “should” be doing.
Lori Draper says
Good plan! As an educator and a parent, I can assure you that hours sitting at “lessons” are neither as fun or as valuable as what you have planned for your kids!