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Learning Tips for Parents: Say Goodbye to Kids’ Summer Slump — Learn Anytime, Anywhere!

on Thu, 05/08/2014 - 14:35

Learning Tips for Parents: Say Goodbye to Kids’ Summer Slump Learn Anytime, Anywhere!

What child doesn’t look forward to summer vacation? It’s a time to get outside, ride bikes, swim, play with friends, and ... take a break from school. But unfortunately, it’s also a time when children experience learning losses if they don’t engage in educational activities. Educational research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
But there is good news for parents, say educators from Connections Academy (, a leading virtual school known for its innovative and flexible learning approach. There is a wealth of fun, educational resources available—for free— that can help parents keep their students sharp this summer. Parents can take advantage of some great Internet sites, but should remember favorite, ‘tried and true’ learning activities, like reading books or exploring a museum together.

Here are some examples of free resources to incorporate learning into summer fun:

1. Play Ball! - Let America’s favorite pastime give your kids a mental workout this
summer. The Science of Baseball ( is a free web site that offers fun and interactive games (test your reaction time, the science behind a home run) as well as some great historical information (the girls of summer). An entertaining alternative when the game is rained out!

2. Drive Home Math and Spelling Skills - Yes, a fifteen-minute car trip is just enough time to get your NPR fix but ... it is also a great time to review math problems and spelling words. Play a game with your student and spell as many summer-related words as you can. Or challenge them by asking how many addition or subtraction problems they can solve in the time it takes to drive to the grocery store. Create a routine and keep track of how much you spend with this activity – you’ll be amazed at how much practice time you’ll rack up.

3. Visit a Museum... Online - More and more of the world’s great museums are offering exciting online experiences. From art and science to natural history, the Web has made a "visit" possible when a trip to the big city is not. The Smithsonian offers a Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web ( This searchable database will help you find all sorts of interesting exhibits. For example, explore the collection at the Museum of Modern Art ( in NYC or check out CT scans of a 2,500 year-old mummy at the Museum of Science in Boston and learn everything you want to know about baseball from

the Library of Congress

4. Show Me the Money! - Commence Operation Piggybank. Money is a tangible and fun way for students to explore math. Challenge your younger student to count the money in your wallet or ask them to point out the items that they could/would buy with $5 at a local shop. If your child does not have a piggy bank, encourage them to make and decorate one and keep track of their finances over the summer. Connections Academy offers a nifty interactive Lemonade Stand ( game.aspx) – an online math game that examines supply and demand while building estimation and calculation skills.

5. Listen to a Story—Even on your iPod or iPhone - You probably know that your whole family can listen to a great literature together, thanks to the many recorded books you can check out for free from your local public library. These are great choices for long family road trips or vacations. But did you know that your iPod- toting teen or tween can also listen to great literature on-the-go, wherever they are? Lots of free literature podcasts are available for everything from Aesop’s Fables to Zola. Visit the podcast

directory ( to pick the perfect literature podcasts for your child this summer.

6. Family Game Night - Set aside one night a week for family game night. Chess supports youngsters’ analytical and problem-solving skills, and scrabble helps boost spelling and vocabularyskills. Youcanplaytheboardgame,orevenplayfreeonlineversions,ifyour ‘plugged in’ students prefer. And every day, you can add magnetic letters to your fridge or play with Connections Academy’s virtual version (

7. Hit the Park - Take a family field trip to a local park or historic site. Kids love animals and nature, and can learn lots about science while having a ball. Don’t forget to ask park officials if they have any free student guides or activities for your kids. Many historic sites stage re- enactments of battles or life in times gone by – school, home life -- that really bring history to lifeforyoungsters. Yourfamilycanalsovisitsomeofournation’smostpopularnationalparks, like Yosemite, without even leaving home, thanks to free sites like

8. Blast Off! to Outer Space - Visit your local science museum or observatory to learn about astronomy with your kids. Then visit, a treasure trove of free science activities, information, and videos for kids. There’s even a game area, indexed by grade level.

Adapted from ”Top 10 summer Learning Tips for Parents: Say Goodbye to Kids Summer Slump, Learn Anytime, Anywhere”,

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frank28's picture

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Deianiraartemis's picture

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