The Summer Classroom

By Nicole

June 22, 2015

The Summer Classroom

  Have you ever noticed that your student tends to forget some basic academic skills over the summer that makes starting back up again in the fall difficult?  English, mathematics, and reading skills seem to fly from their brains when bike riding and sand boxes take over!  My father, a pastor, had a unique approach to dealing with summer forgetfulness.  Take a trip down memory lane with me!

 Summer, ah the blessed days of playing with no school, chores, and responsibilities.  Fluffy clouds floated by: strong winds whipped my braids behind me as I ran over the fields and rode my bike (named Scout).  Hours were spent in the tree reading my favorite Sherlock Holmes novels.  Nothing called for my attention.  Well, not entirely true!  While these activities happened the reality was that we had barn animals to feed, the church to care for, and a garden to tend that was big enough to feed us for a year.  It was in this garden that most of my summer reminding took place.  I would be absently mindedly pulling weeds (and a few bean plants), dreaming of riding my bike, when my dad would ask me, “Nicole, what is the definition of an adjective?”  “Um, Dad, you are my teacher, don’t you know?”  “Nicole!”  “I don’t know, Dad.”  That is when my little brother would pop up and answer with no issues, “An adjective is a word which describes a noun and answers the questions “which one,” “how many,” “what kind,” and “whose”.”  Nothing like having your brother show you up!  It had the proper outcome – I chose to remember my definitions.   This is a great way to keep schoolwork fresh in their heads.  You can also use the plants in the garden to practice counting by 2’s, 3’s, etc.  Animals work for this as well.  I am not suggesting that they should do schoolwork all year long because we all need a vacation every now and again.  However, stopping schoolwork completely and not keeping some basic things fresh will cause some problems for our students.  Ask your student to share their Social Studies and Science with you.  My daughter (11) likes to tell me about the missionaries that she learned about.  My son (10) loves to share anything gross from Science with me.  I encourage it because it means that it is fresh in their mind.  The same goes for Math and English.  Ask them about it.  Have them put their skills to use while doing everyday things.  It will help them to be better prepared for the next school year.  The son I spoke of earlier struggles with reading as in he HATES it.  He is required to read for an hour every day over the summer.  I know that if I don’t do that he will struggle in September. 

The summer classroom doesn’t have to be complicated or last all day.  Find your child’s weakest point and build them up in it.  You will be surprised how much it helps when the school year starts.  Your student that struggled in English just may go on to minor in that in college!

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