Family at farmers market

When school's out, the last thing kids want to do is homework. But most schools today require students to keep up with their studies even in the summer. Instead of letting it be a bummer, enhance that summer learning.

Turn summer slide
into summer climb

With the right plans and outings, you can ensure that your kids end summer all ready to rock their next school year.

Learning over summer break might seem like a bummer, but when done well it can help your kids be fully prepared to rock their next school year. So, how can you make summertime learning absolutely rock (and not seem like a painful punishment)?

Close to home

Dr. Ashley Norris, assistant dean of the College of Education at the University of Phoenix, says to begin by looking in your own backyard. "Open the morning newspaper and choose an adventure for the day. See what is happening in your community and find learning opportunities in your own backyard," says Norris.

Norris suggests that local shopping can be a place to start. "Visit the farmer's market to learn about vegetables. Take pictures and continue your research online or at the library. Then have your child create a presentation about what he/she learned," says Norris.

Also, take advantage of the cultural offerings in your area. "Attend concerts in the park or other community music events. Inspire children to research and explore different types of music or the history of a specific instrument," says Norris.

Step away from the workbook

Workbooks? Sure, the teacher's store is stocked with them. But what you really want to do is keep your child's brain engaged.

"Try to do some activities that they normally won't do at school and stay away from workbook type of activities."

"It is summer after all, so pick activities that your child will think is fun. Try to do some activities that they normally won't do at school and stay away from workbook type of activities. The point is to keep their brains active in a fun and exciting way," says Kelly Blair, director of curriculum and instruction at Compass Learning.

That could mean hitting the library for science experiment books, says Blair. "Whenever applicable, let your kid plan the activity and organize all the materials needed. That allows them to take ownership in their learning, which they love. The more they get to be the decision maker in what they do, the more fun they will have," says Blair.

Cook together

Cooking isn't just a means to get dinner on the table. It can be a fantastic learning opportunity for your children where they can learn about measurements, time, temperature and chemical reactions, says Blair. "Have them note and report out on the things they see, then explain why. Why does the oil not mix with the vinegar? Why do you need different amounts of onion when using dried onion versus fresh onion," says Blair.

Every day is a new opportunity to help your children think critically, exercise their minds and have fun in the process.

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