I am not sure if anyone is in the same predicament as me but with two jobs and grad school, it has become quite hard to spend as much time with my children as I would like. I spoke with my pastor about this and she had some really great advice. My main issue was that I needed to spend more time with my teenage daughter and as anyone knows teenagers can turn their backs on parents and shut them out; mine hasn’t done this and instead has been trying to connect with me more often. My son is a handful and usually takes up most of my time when I am at home and not grading papers or writing papers.
So, I was told to send my four-year-old to bed an hour early. Simple but great advice! Why didn’t I think of that? Well, that is why I am sharing. I probably didn’t think of that because I am running on autopilot and didn’t step outside of the situation to take a closer look. Within that hour my daughter gets 30 minutes to herself to relax without having to help with her little brother and the last 30 minutes are for us to share and do whatever it is that SHE wants to do.
When I told her about the idea she was excited. She even helps me get her little brother in the bed earlier for his storytime and kiss goodnight. So far we have played monopoly (her favorite game) and 8 ball (a game that uses our cell phones). We even answered questions from our “Coke or Pepsi” book (great book to get for girls middle school and up). She loves our time together and so do I.
We have all heard of the infamous “Summer Slide” and if you haven’t, it is the loss of knowledge that occurs during the summer months. Children are usually outside playing, babysitting siblings, or inside playing video games or on social media–all of which are not promoting learning throughout the summer. So, in turn, they lose what they have learned throughout the school year and the brain becomes lazy. As a teacher, it is always interesting to hear a student say “Mr. or Mrs. So and So didn’t teach us that last year. This is mostly 90% incorrect. They were in fact taught the concepts but failed to retain them throughout the summer and the brain placed the information into the deep recesses of their mind. They just don’t remember. This leads to a reteaching of concepts that have already been taught and a waste of classroom time that could be spent on “going deeper” with those same concepts.
Every summer, I have my daughter read a book and tell me about it. If it is a book that I haven’t read myself, I pull a copy of the chapter by chapter summary from online (to make sure she is not bluffing). Most times, she has a summer reading assignment for her teacher for the upcoming year but, I also give her assignments myself. The web is a great tool. I can create crossword puzzles to test her knowledge of the book. There may even be some already created. My new passion is Prezi, so this summer, I am having her use this platform to summarize the story (plot events), conflict, theme, and main characters. She is currently reading ” The Fault in Our Stars”.
Another tool I use is my local bookstore. There is an entire teacher/education section where I pick up material for her to study math concepts (this is her hardest subject). It is important, especially with subjects that children find challenging, to keep them immersed in the material all year-long. Finally, the local library usually runs a summer reading contest or club catering to the different age groups. There are so many resources out there and if you need any other ideas, feel free to drop me a line. I have also added my Pinterest board “No More Summer Slide,” that provides a wealth of resources and I will continue to add to it as I come across great links. Remember, you are not stealing the fun away from your child. They can still go out and play. But, what you are doing is preparing them to be successful academically and later on in life.