Education, Kids

Escuelita at home: Summer isn’t over yet!

August 1, 2013


The Back-to-School season is on!! BUT…some of us still have up to four weeks of summer vacation!! I know summer is suppose to be a fun time for kids to explore on their own, for kids to play outside hours on end, and to simply just relax. The truth is: Summer learning loss contributes significantly to achievement gaps in America’s schools. But the days are long, right? How do we balance education and fun at the same time?

Summer vacation is a big break and we don’t do all-day camps, so right at the beginning of summer, I was ready with ideas and materials. A list of summer school work in your home is needed for when the kids come in stating whining, “Mom, I’m bored”. My boys range in ages between 1-6 and can not all do the same things but, it’s possible to keep them engaged in different stations. The key is to have your materials ready!

If you are in need of quick and easy but educational ideas to help you get through the next few weeks, here is a list. We pick out 4-5 things to do and strictly focus on them throughout the day. When he wakes up, Diego knows he picks a couple of activities and I pick the other two. He has a say so and I get to keep a balance for him. Another point, he has all day to complete the tasks. If we go out, I encourage him to manage his time (another great skill to learn early).

1) Reading We’re at the point that Santi (2.5 yrs) can sit through a picture book that Diego picks out. Jordi (1 yr old) will eventually move on to find something else in the same room. Sometimes Diego (6 yrs) reads on his own while I read to the babies. Establishing this quiet time at an early age is so important. A great lesson for them to learn at a young age: you never have to be bored if there is reading material laying around!

2) Writing This one is tough. Diego has his Postcard to the Library assignment for school again this year. He also has to keep a summer journal and we are working on Spanish stories. It’s difficult to keep the little ones entertained while Diego writes. We do this when babies are napping or when I know Diego can do something on his own (with the occasional shouting of spelling words across the room).

3) Art Play dough, finger paint, outdoor art, water colors and even a good old coloring book is wonderful (funny, I used to discourage Diego from using coloring books but with 3 boys, they have been life-savers!). And speaking of the writing, when I hand Santi a workbook/coloring book for preschoolers while Diego is writing, he feels like a “big boy”.

4) Puzzles Bring them out! I know you have them! So good for mathematical, spatial and critical thinking! The best part? They have them for ALL ages.

5) LEGOs A great investment. Just like puzzles, so good for their little (and growing!) brains. They have for all ages!

6) Music I remember trying to memorize lyrics at a young age. Turn up your Pandora or iTunes and see what happens.

7) Science This subject is not a strength of mine. But I have resources for you!! Check out Mommy Maestra’s amazing list of science and nature projects she has put together. Her kids are currently raising frogs!

8) Photography Let the kids snap away! If you are comfortable with them using your iPhone or camera, show them these tips from the pros.

9) Math Word stories like Bedtime Math, more puzzles, apps, and workbooks are all nice to have their heads ready for September! Cooking, baking and shopping are great too. The boys like to measure and weight! All math concepts.

10) Board Games We do “game night” with Diego on the weekends. It is a special bonding time with our oldest. He gets to stay up later than usual and because he is not into long featured movies yet, we bring out the games! Our favorites? Sorry!, Quirkle, Brain Quest, UNO, and Connect Four.

Learning should be fun!! There is so much to do over the long breaks. These ideas are great for weekends and holiday breaks too. If you have a couple of weeks left before school starts, warm up kid’s brains with these fun and educational things to do!

What educational things do your kids enjoy doing at home? Ideas of all ages are welcomed! Please share!

P.s. Outdoor activities

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  • Reply Maria August 1, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    To avoid the infamous “summer slide” I always have my kids tutored (currently ages 14 & 17) in Math during the summer. I was proactive about contacting one of my kid’s Math Teachers in our school district and asking her if she’d be interested in tutoring my kids over the summer. She said yes! She tutors them for an 1 hour a week each and she preps them for school by giving them a heads up on what to expect and how to prepare, everything from where to order their academic calendars to when to expect their ForeSight tests at the beginning of the year.

    I also have them take violin lessons with their actual Orchestra teacher in her home once a week, so that they can stay sharp.

    As far as reading is concerned, we always join a reading program, this summer it was Latinas for Latino Literature. I’m loving it! I’m reading everything they’re reading and we’ve had some really great discussions.

    When we travel or have outings, I encourage them to take pics and document their summer. This summer, my daughter traveled to France with her French class, took lots of great pics and learned a lot about French history, culture, food and customs – she even started a blog where she’s sharing her story and her pics.

    My son traveled to Puerto Rico and he took his own pics of family gatherings, trips, and food.I enjoy seeing what they photographed and learning the reasons and stories behind their pics. Overall, I’d say a pretty fun filled and educational summer! 🙂

  • Betty
    Reply Betty August 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    What great tips Maria AND experiences!!!! Experiences teach our children so much, yes? How fantastic that you have been able to do so much for them. Congratulations!! P.s. I sent you an email a while ago, did you receive it?
    Betty recently posted..Weekend of IndulgenceMy Profile

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