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Syndicated column from The Parent
[JUNE 30, 2006]
Q: My children
will begin their summer break soon. I want them to relax and enjoy
their time off, but I don't want them to forget everything they've
learned this school year. How can I keep them learning without
making their summer break seem like "school"?
A: You're right. Children
do need to relax and rest over the summer break. But a steady diet
of aimless days can soon become boring. Start planning now and you
can keep learning alive all summer by scheduling some activities.
Look for organized activities. Many activities in your area
have been organized for you already. All you have to do is gather
information. Call the schools, libraries, museums, churches and park
departments to find out what summer activities are being offered --
and many of them are free. Also scan local newspapers and community
Get a large calendar and have a family meeting. Tell your
children that summer will be more enjoyable if it's more structured.
Share your list of ideas. Ask all family members to add activities
that interest them. Summertime is a great time to pick up new skills
-- for example, learning to cook, playing a musical instrument,
planting a garden (even if it's a few seeds sprouting on a
Encourage reading. As you and your children make up the
schedule, don't forget to include at least 20 minutes of reading a
day. Reading is important for children of all ages. Children who
read year-round do better when they return to school. Help your
children create a reading corner or a reading tent. Furnish it with
books and magazines geared toward their interests, a chair, a
sleeping bag, a lamp or a flashlight. And remember, when your
children are quietly reading, curl up with a book yourself.
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Plan and record your travels. If you will be traveling this
summer, have your children read about the places you're going to
visit. You'll find that the library is a great resource. Use an
encyclopedia and an almanac. Then help your children go online to do
more research. You can even find online newspapers from the places
you'll visit. Give each child a journal for recording special
thoughts and memories. Or simply enjoy an imaginary trip to outer
space with your children. Have everyone write a story about the
As you start to fill up your activity calendar, be careful not to
schedule every minute of your children's time. Allow plenty of
opportunities for simply relaxing, thinking and dreaming.
For more information about helping
children learn or to submit your own question, go to
http://advisor.parent-institute.com. All questions will receive
a prompt answer by e-mail.
Copyright 2006, The Parent Institute
"Ask the Learning Advisor -- Ideas for Raising Successful
Children" is a free, syndicated column from the Parent Institute.