I know... you are tired....your kids are tired ....and the last thing you want to do is begin working on educational activities with them after this school year...
We all need a break!
However, incorporating a few activities weekly and setting some small routines for your child will help them prepare for the upcoming school year where remote learning appears to be a thing of the past. We all know teachers, educators, parents, families, and schools did their best to support our children last year. But if you were like me working from home...I admittedly often fell back on things because it was quite overwhelming to multi-task and complete my own job at the same time.
This summer is a perfect opportunity to begin small steps to get them prepared for the upcoming school year.
This is where we are so far...
1. FIND OUT WHAT THEY LOVE
Our son Dj loves math. I say that first because I believe you should identify your child's strengths and weaknesses. By doing so you are allowing them to be flexible and less hesitant with the more daunting task you present.
So we will begin each morning with 2-3 math problems..... not 10 ......
I pick specific word problems for him that are real-life-based and encourage critical thinking. Here's a look at an example we are working on …..
You can see more problems here https://hcpss.instructure.com/courses/97/pages/problem-solving and just use google …Type your child's grade and word problems… BAM lol
He loves doing the word problems because it is okay to be incorrect as long as you prove your thinking. He has been killing it recently so we are now on grade 3 problems. If your child has problems with computation facts download XTRA MATH in the app store or create a free account online… thank me later…. https://xtramath.org/#/home/index
2. FILL IN THE GAPS FROM THE PREVIOUS GRADE or PREPARE THEM FOR WHAT'S NEXT.... by grabbing a math practice book from Amazon or googling a state test to see what type of work your child is expected to do. Dj is a dual language learner. He has been learning Spanish in school since kindergarten but with Covid, in the way, there are major gaps… NO BUENO lol
So we are incorporating conversational Spanish as much as possible along with ROSETTA STONE and Duolingo….
The lessons are short, 10-15 minutes mostly.
We also purchased some Spanish practice books from Amazon.
If your child struggles in any area, look for work a grade down.
THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH IT!
3. SUPPORT THEIR AREAS OF WEAKNESS WITH SCAFFOLDED SUPPORTS
For our son DJ, we want to build on his writing. He can write neatly and he can complete his work.....but not independently. DJ has also told us it's his least favorite thing to do…..lol
He is going from 2nd grade to 3rd grade and the level of independence will be needed as he begins more literary responses about the text he encounters. He is reading above grade level at a level O enjoys reading… but not so much writing lol … So we are using teachers pay teachers a website with resources for teachers and parents for a book DJ picked out from the Desmond Cole series he loves called “Surfs Up, Creepy Stuff”
Find a book that has a workbook or something to go with it...take the hard work out of it…. Somebody already did it.
Find reading levels by grade here…. This is based on Fountas and Pinnell
He excelled in reading this year by using programs like Raz Kids consistently. If your school district uses it please encourage your child to read daily for at least 20 minutes or more. Raz Kids provides students with leveled text, phonemic awareness, and sight words they will need as they grow as readers. If you don't have an account you can sign up for one here......https://www.raz-plus.com/ (we have no affiliation with them it really just works) There are a plethora of sites online you can try too including spelling city which we are signing up for as well. https://www.spellingcity.com/ . One of the main reasons our son takes a long time to write is because he doesn't want to spell the words wrong. So we are adding that into our routines as well and letting him know it's okay to just write and edit later. Get your ideas on paper first…
We are also going to support him by practicing using sentence starters.
You can literally google some....
Like 2nd grade sentence starters and ZILLION will pop up.
Here are a few…..
This reminds me of
My favorite part of the folktale was when...
The character changed because ...
I infer …...
When Dj has these readily available the task becomes less daunting...
4. ENCOURAGE READING EVERYWHERE!
If your child has difficulty with reading, challenge them to watch some YOUTUBE that practices the sounds the words should make. Purchase a chart to keep in their room to help them sound out and chunk difficult words. Encourage noticing how to read signage when you are on the road. If you do it will make the world of a difference. Reading is necessary for all areas of learning and most students are out of whack with reading because Covid limited their amount of time in class. If they can't sit for a book a day, start slowly and add minutes weekly...kids need to build their stamina….. also like the kids….GO TO YOUTUBE.
They have adults on there who will read your child almost any book! A win is a win!
5. SET CLEAR GOALS AND CELEBRATE THEIR COMMITMENT
We sat with our son and outlined goals together. Goals he wanted to reach and those we thought were necessary.
Together, we agreed to celebrate milestones such as writing a certain amount of sentences daily and getting better at solving those 3rd-grade math problems. Dj told us ideas on what he thought would be cool ideas…. Mostly food lol but also being able to spend more time with the screen if he did his work. We compromised and nobody cried…..
6. PLAN A TRIP TO A MUSEUM OR LANDMARK
We have gone to a few landmarks with our son, but we are going to the African American museum in DC as part of a weekend trip this summer…. And of course a stop at the MECCA ….Howard alumni lol
We plan on making the most of these days by learning about the government and planning places to learn about our cultures. We will also go places locally like the Liberty Science Center, NYC museums, Ellis Island, and the African burial grounds in lower Manhattan. Experience and exposure are the best teachers. Children learn best when they are immersed.
That's all I got for now cause it's only day 3 of summer vacation and I'm tired… I have things in my head I must craft and my deck needs some love lol ….
But this summer I will keep our journey going and share it with all of you….
Let us know any ideas and resources we can share with our community as we build together!
Heres a free resource for everyone..... It includes video links to a bunch of books to help encourage reading that are all BLM based or diverse