By Amy Taylor
Switching gears from days filled with swimming pools, popsicles and summer camp to structured days filled with learning can be tough for some children. With school right around the corner, there’s still time to implement some structure and education to help your kids ease back into a learning routine.
Teach Life Skills Over Summer
Prince William Living contributing writer Helena Kennedy uses the summer to sharpen her children’s academic skills and teach them valuable skills they will need in life. She chooses a reallife learning topic each week, which changes as her children get older.
“One week it might be doing fun science experiments at home or an art week where we visit local art venues and spend time being creative ourselves with painting or crafting,” said Kennedy. “Another week it might be teaching them how to do laundry and use the washer and dryer and then having them practice it.
Another week it might be about nutrition and having them plan meals for the family that encompass all the food groups. We’ve even done a money week where they met with a bank manager at a local bank to talk about savings accounts.”
She also suggests integrating themes to give kids some life experience. “Sometimes I integrate several themes, like they go grocery shopping with me and have to plan a meal within a certain budget (money part) that hits all the healthy food groups (cooking/nutrition). I figure those are things they probably won’t
learn in school but really need to know in life, so why not teach them that during the summer?” Kennedy said.
Along with these practical learning experiences, Kennedy’s children participate in the summer reading program each year. “They look forward to it every year—trying out new books, reaching their goals,” Kennedy said.
This year the Prince William Public Library is holding its summer reading program through Aug. 11. The theme this year is “It’s Time to Travel through a Universe of Stories!” The program includes activities and challenges for children of all ages. For more information on the summer reading program, visit pwcgov.org/government/dept/library/Pages/summerreading.aspx.
When you keep your children reading and thinking critically over the summer, easing back into school will be a smooth transition.
Amy Taylor ([email protected]) is a freelance writer and editor. She earned her BLS in English from the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.