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The long sprawling summer stretches out in front of us.
Promising lie ins, long summer days in the hazy, (and as of late intense) sunshine.
The children awake quietly, go downstairs and feed themselves breakfast, while I catch a few more precious moments of peace, before I stretch luxuriantly and head downstairs. Patient, happy and ready to start the day.
Well…my summer holidays very rarely look like this and very often without some kind of loose routine, everyone is usually feeling impatient and overstimulated by 9:30am. They haven’t fed themselves and they’ve been watching TV for the last two hours.
One way I combat this, is by giving them homework to do over the summer.
Should Children Study During the Summer?
Now, I’m not draconian. I don’t ask my kids to study for three hours every day during their holidays. They’re only nine, six and one. But the summer slump is real and I want my children to keep on top of all the progress they have made in the last academic year.
This study shows that there is a dip in maths, comprehension and spelling during the six week holiday period. Although most children are able to catch up, it does require extra effort to make up for that loss of knowledge. This is even more pronounced in lower income or disadvantaged families both in the UK and especially in the US where the summer holidays are 12 weeks long. If you’re in this position I urge you get your kids to practise daily things such as multiplication everyday, and go to the library and get your children to read out loud to you everyday.
Practice, Practice, Practice!
This is the single most important thing you can do to keep your children’s knowledge level consistent. You don’t have to teach them anything new, just work on retaining what they already have.
So here are the 7 academic books I’m we’ll study this summer to keep my kids minds engaged!
8-9 Year Old Books
My son had a really good academic year. He showed real interest in wanting to work harder and be one of the smart boys. I couldn’t actually believe he wanted more work to do! So we started to see a tutor, and his confidence skyrocketed. He always did pretty well at school but it seemed he wanted to kick it up a notch. Although we currently don’t see a tutor, I still encourage him to do a bit of extra work at home. He has worked steadily and easily through the Bond Ten Minute Maths book, so looking for something a little more challenging, I picked up this Schofield & Sons Mental Arithmetic Book 3 to see how he would find it. This will hopefully highlight any current gaps in his knowledge.
The next book we will be working on is Bond’s Verbal Reasoning Assessment Papers. I remember doing Verbal Reasoning as a child, I was never very good at it. It is often about recognising patterns through words using logic. It’s not a subject that is taught in most schools, which I think is a real disadvantage to kids as it helps to develop problem solving skills. Anyway, since my son enjoys Maths so much, I thought a subject in between Maths and English might be a good mental workout for him.
We’ve already started this book, using the Verbal Reasoning How to Guide to help us work it out together. Going at a slower pace with him is great for his confidence and comprehension.
I’ve never used CGP books before but I was recommended this one by his former tutor, so I decided to give this one a go. My son can sometimes get a bit lazy with his English, even though he’s really quite good at it.
As an additional book I found this Synonyms and Antonyms book to encourage him to widen his vocabulary.
5-6 Year Old Books
For my six year old daughter we will encourage her fondness of simple maths with Collins Addition and Subtraction book. She genuinely enjoys it and pulls it out whenever she sees it in her bookcase.
The next two books we will do with her will be CGP’s KS2 English Handwriting and Schofield & Sims Spelling Book 1. We will probably alternate these two books every other day, depending on her attention span!
As An Extra
I thought I’d include my one year olds favourite game at the moment which is the Orchard Toys Flashcards.
What will you be doing this summer to keep your children’s skills up? Please share below and let’s share our ideas!