We’re heading back to school in a few short days and some of us, not to name names, (hint: initials start with J and D) haven’t been the most vigilant of summer tutors.
My daughters may feel a culture shock when they no longer get to spend their days choosing ice cream flavors and perfecting belly flops. Earlier this summer, Marina Koestler Ruben, the D.C.-based author of “How to Tutor Your Own Child: Boost Grades and Inspire a Lifelong Love of Learning — Without Paying for a Professional Tutor,” (Ten Speed Press, 2011) offered suggestions here for how to prevent the summer learning slide. Now, she gives more advice to us slackers on how to help summarized kids transition back into school mode.
Here are her top six tips:
1. Read. Encourage your child to begin a book of his or her choice shortly before summer ends to make sure “pleasure reading” is associated with the whole year--not just breaks from school.
2. Correspond. Use the summer-to-fall shift as a time to mail or e-mail updates to friends and relatives, helping kids write messages. Year-round, carry addressed and stamped postcards and/or envelopes so that messages can be sent when inspiration (or a long car ride) strikes!
3. Travel. Plan an end-of-summer trip to a museum, historic or literary home, or science site that relates to your child’s upcoming course of study.
4. Take stock. With your children’s input, make a list of this summer’s best activities and experiences, reflecting on what made them worthwhile and starring those that you’d want to repeat next year.
5. Dream. Let the summer successes inspire a second list, this one a wish list of school year adventures. Or have family members plan surprise outings for each other, taking the opportunity to reflect on each other’s interest and to select destinations that would be particularly enriching for a given individual. For example, for a child who loved canoeing at summer camp, arrange a family kayaking or paddle-boating adventure.
6. Challenge. Ask your child to imagine that one of this year’s teachers is absent on the first day of school, leaving your child in charge of teaching the class. If he had to base the lessons on what he’s learned and experienced over the summer, what would he decide to do?
— from Marina Koestler Ruben, author of “How to Tutor Your Own Child: Boost Grades and Inspire a Lifelong Love of Learning - Without Paying for a Professional Tutor.”