Families across the state are celebrating the end of another school year. While it’s wonderful to enjoy the warm, summer months without the stress of homework and studying, there is a downside to a 2 ½ month break in your child’s education. It’s been well documented that students often fall behind in reading and math when they are out of school for a long period of time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prevent your children from suffering from the dreaded summer slide. From committing to stimulating at-home activities to enrolling in academic camps and classes, it’s easy to keep your kids’ minds engaged all summer long.
If you’re serious about avoiding summer “brain drain,” consider an academic summer camp program. Many local school districts offer grade-level reading and math programs designed to get students ready for the following school year. The programs are generally very affordable and because they’re often taught by teachers within the district, the curriculum will be very similar to what is taught during the school year. If this isn’t an option in your town, look into some private academic camp options. Summit’s Oak Knoll School offers a Summer Scholars program for kids entering grades 4 through 12. The program provides children the opportunity to review math topics and develop writing skills.
Think that an academic summer camp will be a hard sell for your kids? Consider signing them up for a summer session at an academic enrichment program instead. Both Kumon and Mathnasium have various locations throughout New Jersey. These programs will assess your child’s capabilities and design a plan to help them do well in the upcoming school year. Best of all, the hours are flexible. The summer program at Mathnasium’s Freehold location allows parents to purchase a set amount of 60-minute sessions and kids are welcome to drop in during any of the hours that they are open.
Consider hiring a tutor. In this day and age, tutors aren’t just for kids who are falling behind. If you had a beloved school teacher, chances are she will be willing to stop by once or twice a week over the summer to work with your child individually. While private tutors don’t come cheap, you can’t beat the convenience and personal attention that a one-on-one tutor provides. As an added bonus, you can schedule them at a time that fits your schedule.
Check out local STEM themed camps for a fun way to prevent the summer slide without going the typical “summer school” route. From robotics to programming, New Jersey offers tons of summer camp opportunities that are designed to keep young minds working. ID Tech offers technology summer camps for kids ages 7-17. Camp options include web design, coding, Minecraft modding, film making and more. The camp has locations throughout Central and Northern New Jersey.
If you and your kids have your hearts set on kicking back and enjoying the lazy days of summer without scheduled learning, there are still plenty of great ways to keep them thinking. Try planning some educational day trips that are also exciting adventures. There are a few wonderful destinations in the state that are always a hit, including Liberty Science Center and Camden’s Adventure Aquarium. But there are also plenty of small museums and learning centers around if you do a little research. If you’re heading down the shore, check out the New Jersey Maritime Museum, the Tuckerton Seaport or the Wetlands Institute. Who says learning can’t be fun?
Summer Reading Clubs
Sign your kids up for your local library’s summer reading program. Most libraries offer fun, incentive-based, reading programs for kids during the summer months. The South Plainfield Public Library offers a great Summer Reading Club where all children who register are given a booklet to record the books they read. Each week, readers are awarded a prize for their participation. Berkeley Heights Public Library hosts a similar program and concludes the summer with a party for all the young readers.
Finally, if all else fails, buy some grade-appropriate workbooks and commit to having your kids complete an assignment or two each day. School Zone publishes a great selection of workbooks for kids in preschool through 6th grade, with options in many different subject areas. Hide their electronics until they produce a few finished pages and chances are, they’ll manage to squeak in a bit of learning during the hot summer months.
Hero (Top) Feature Image: © matka_Wariatka/Adobe Stock
Additional Images (in order) Courtesy:
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child
Facebook/iD Tech Camps
Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum
School Zone Publishing Company