Happy Summer, Mommy Teachers!!! Oh wait, MOMMY teachers don’t get a summer break! For those of us with school-aged kids, we get to spend extra time with our big kids too – which means extra busy bodies in the house.
It is really important to me to maintain some type of schedule during the
summer or the kids and I could easily fall into the routine of staying in our pajamas, never leaving the house and then by 3 o’clock everyone is completely stir crazy. Because of this, I am mapping out a daily schedule that includes play dates or errands, Bible study, school time, free time and more so my children will never have the opportunity to say, “I’m bored” or “Mom, when can we play the Wii?” They will have one opportunity per day to either play the computer or video games. Summer is a time for kids to unplug (for the most part – I mean, let’s get real… even Mommy enjoys her Mario Kart).
It is also important for school aged kids to stay on track for their next school year. Many kids have to play catch up at the beginning of each new grade level because they forgot most of what they learned the year before. As Mommy Teachers, it is our job to bridge the gap between grades on both an academic/cognitive level and a social level.
On an academic and cognitive level, this can be achieved by simply doing activities to reinforce what your child learned the previous year (think back to all of those homework assignments your child’s teacher sent home) or visit the website for the Common Core Standards which is what each child should know by the end of each school year (these have been adopted by the public school systems of most states). And if your child had a super awesome teacher like my kindergartner did, chances are they will have sent home a packet for practice this summer.
Now, I am not particularly a fan of “hand outs” and worksheets, however, the 2 months off of school can break kids of the social behaviors that they learned in the classroom this year. Social behaviors aren’t just interactions we have with other people, the are also what is expected of us when we are in different social situations such as sitting in a classroom, standing in line, and waiting our turn. Just think about how those things prepared us for sitting at our office desk, standing in line at the grocery store, and waiting our turn to use the ATM machine. So, in this case, a handout or worksheet a day, where your child sits correctly in a chair, pulled up to the table (not on the floor) is more than just working on maintaining academic knowledge; it is helping them retain that social behavioral expectation that they will need for the fall when they have to sit quietly at their desks to do work.
I recently made a trip to our local school supply store (it’s like the IKEA for teacher supplies – ah-may-zing!) and purchased a few summer school supplies for my kids. Now, you can absolutely find free templates for a lot of these worksheets online (there are plenty on The Mommy Teacher alone), but my printer is B-R-O-K-E-N and this was cheaper for me than replacing the printer.
I bought 2 Summer Bridge Activities workbooks (on
e for each of my boys) that are specifically designed to align with the common core standards, reward charts, stickers, lined paper, and lined journal paper. For every page they finish in their workbooks (or for when they work extra hard on a particular activity) they each get a gold star sticker (highly coveted). When they fill up the chart we will take a trip to Jump Zone (their choice) as a reward for all of their hard work.
The lined paper is to specifically practice handwriting (one area that my 5 year old struggles in) and the journal lined paper is to practice writing paragraph stories and drawing a picture of what happens in that story (a kindergarten skill). Many kids will write a story of say, going to the store, and they draw a picture of a tree. This summer we will practice creating complex stories and adding detail to our drawings. My ultimate goal is to make this activity FUN for my 5 year old because he absolutely despises writing and drawing (totally my husband’s child). I may have to ::gasp:: resort to bribing for this one!
* This weekend I will be following up with posts about our summer schedule and weekly themed curriculum, so I apologize for the clumped posts, but summer starts today and I’m already off schedule! Eep!