Sunday, July 10, 2011

Getting Your Child Ahead Over the Summer

I am sure you have heard from teachers, or witnessed it for yourself as a parent, but it is true that children can loose some of their learning from the school year over the summer months.  It can be frustrating for both the parents, child and teachers.  Well in asking for some reading suggestions to get your kids motivated, I received several great ideas.  One idea comes from a reader @ Busy Kids = Happy Mom.  (By the way, I totally love the title of this is so true!)  Anyway, Kristen suggested coming up with what academic area your child needs to work on, based on their end of the year report card and make a plan.  Set goals and a point system so your child knows there will be a reward for their hard work and effort.
Here's what Kristen had to say:

"How are prizes awarded at my house?

1. My husband and I decide what we really think the kids are willing to work for.
2. We ask our kids for suggestions. My youngest always says "Lego Land" - we ask for simpler ideas!
3. We choose 3-4 prizes that we can make happen. This means- is this something that we can afford to purchase or are we willing to travel or attend (sporting event, amusement park).
4. Finally, we figure out exactly how many points we think our children can earn over the summer. We generally award for 50 points, 150 points, and 300 points.

50 Points - Video Game
150 Points - J: trip to local baseball game, R: trip to a water park for the other (they will earn it for the entire family to attend)
300 Points - Trip for the entire family to a local amusement park
  • All points are cumulative - they do not need to start over from the beginning for each prize
  • Setting goals and accomplishing them gives your child a huge boost in self-confidence!
  • Do not make this too complicated for yourself or else it will never happen. "
For more on her top 10 tips for summer points, CLICK HERE.

Truthfully, I have been doing something similar to this with my son already this summer.  I wasn't too pleased with his math scores at the end of the year so I asked a teacher if I could check out a (less often used) math book from her for the summer...this way he wouldn't have a repeat of the same book.  I sat down at my computer and typed up a list of (what I felt was) the most important pages/assignments from the book and told him he would be working on a page a day during the summer.  Some people may call me the "Nazi Mom" for doing this, but in truth I don't want my son to get further behind, so I will gladly wear that title!  Aside from the week vacation we took in June (hey, the kid has to get a break sometime!) he has been very determined and surprisingly self- motivated.  I told him I would pay him $20 if he would complete his work, so that may be why he has been self motivated! :)  My son is driven my money, but find out what works for your child (like Kristen did) and go for it!  Nothing too expensive or crazy is really needed.  If your child needs rewards more often, buy items from the dollar store and make a prize box out of it. Taking your child to the park, to see a movie, McDonalds, to get a snowcone, or a parent date night are all ideas that might work for you?!? 
I asked my son earlier this week if he thought doing his math was helping him to learn more and improve and he said yes so that makes me feel like it is all worth it!  If he can start 6th grade feeling more confident about his abilities, that will make for a much better overall year!!

1 comment:

busy kids = happy mom said...

Awesome! Working a little over the summer really does help that "summer slide" I'd love to know how your plan for your son goes this summer. I'm sure he'll feel prepared to start next year!