How To help Prevent "Summer Slide"

Now that we are homeschooling I find myself being much more aware of what my children are learning and the skills they are gaining.  While I don't necessarily want to homeschool all year long without taking any breaks I am afraid that if we take the whole summer off that my kids will loose some of their newly gained skills and forget about all those things they've been learning.

This summer I am hoping to do just enough work to keep us in the routine and keep them from that summer slide but not so much school work that we spend all morning working.

I finally decided to talk to my boys.  I told them that while I don't want to do a lot of schoolwork each day I would like to see them working on some math and reading each day (no more than 30 minutes a day tops!).  How we do that is up to them:

  1. Play math games like Monopoly, Yahtzee, Add A Bug, etc.
  2. Read books independently
  3. Work on one page in a math workbook reviewing the lessons from this past school year
  4. Read books together
  5. Read all the signs at the zoo, museums, and other places we go
  6. Apply math in real life; figure out the cost of a day trip, add up the cost of a purchase and figure out change back.  

With math and reading being covered most every day we'll sprinkle in other subjects as the desire or need arises.  I want to keep learning light and fun!!

  • We'll add in writing once or twice a month-- like writing a book report for Bookworm Wednesday Movies at Showcase Cinemas
  • Sprinkle in some fun science experiments- Like making homemade ice cream!
  • We'll take messy art supplies outside to create and explore
  • On rainy days we watch fun history and geography films 
  • We'll go on fun field trips   
  • We'll listen to books on Cd in the car

Knowing I had only been focusing on reading with Evan and totally neglecting math I have been trying to incorporate it into our play and stuff.  Today we counted by 10's up to 200 while Evan was bouncing up and down like a spring.  After that we counted by 5's to 100 while he spun in circles.

He later asked to play the Add A Bug board game we have and he spent the morning adding up the rolls of his dice (we play with regular dice and not the ones that came with the game).  We've adapted the game to our style of play and since it's usually just him and I playing the rules often even change from game to game.  He rolled, added up dice, moved his pawn around the board and read all the squares he landed on-- without any help!  He often counted up his bugs and compared how many he had to how many I had. 

I had asked the older boys to work on some writing too and told them that would probably be it for the week of lessons.

Ian chose a workbook page section working on punctuation; mainly quotation marks.  I did the first few with him and then let him work on his own.  He did great!  By the end of the assignment he was getting them all right.  I then asked him to rewrite just a few of the sentences in his best writing.  He grumbled but did finish the page and he told me that it wasn't so bad.

I try to make schooling as fun as I can and that's why I only require them to do bookwork on rare occasions.  I know it's not that much fun but I sometimes feel like it's the only way I can really "see" what they're working on.

Alec chose to work on a page in his cursive book and reviewed all the upper and lowercase letters of the alphabet. 

Luckily, my boys have been pretty motivated to read lately and so I don't have to force them.  Typically they find that participating in summer reading programs is incentive enough. 

Alec has been reading up a storm; we picked up three new Dragonbreath books for him at the library last night and he finished up the third and final book this afternoon!  He's also read an entire Skylanders guidebook.

I find him curled up everywhere reading!

Ian had finished reading his 8 summer reading books for the Barnes and Noble summer reading program so we turned his paper in this afternoon and he picked out a free book to read.  I think he was pretty proud of the fact that the guy behind the counter couldn't believe he was done already and told Ian he was the first one to turn in his sheet to him. 

Evan read another little book to me today about marching ants and he noticed during our picture walk that the ants increased by increments of 2.  First they marched by two's, then four's all the way up to ten's.  He easily counted by two's and found each of the number words written multiple times on each page.  In our picture walk we talked about where the ants were marching, on a shoe, up the wall, through a door, etc. and he was able to find those words for me too on each page.  He then read through the book pretty quickly, only getting stuck on words like across and through.

We listened to another chapter in Harry Potter and another whole CD in the House of Hades together.

The boys have been reading at bedtime too.

Ian and I started reading Dan Gutman's Genius Files series together.  I read one page of the chapter then passed the book to him for him to read a page.

I was really impressed with how much his fluency has grown.  Gone was his halting voice and he actually stopped with periods and used expression.  He sounded out long words like acceleration, terminal velocity, and many others I thought he'd get stuck on-- but he DIDN'T.  I didn't realize how much his reading skill has grown since we started homeschooling.  I have noticed he's reading more often, on his own, without feeling like he was forced into it.  He enjoys picture books the most and finding books that he relates to isn't always easy but I'm definitely finding it to be worth it!

We've been getting school over with very quickly (I think we spent all of 10 minutes on math on Monday and that was it for the day!) and that's so nice since the weather has been beautiful! 

We've spent our mornings shopping, going to the library, the bank, and running other various errands; most of which the boys have initiated and we've spent our afternoons on the shore of the lake swimming, feeding the ducks, feeding the geese, and observing all the animals around us.

In the past two days we've seen herons, ducks, geese, fish (of all sorts), a red tailed hawk and a "new" duck on our lake that we're still trying to identify.  Living on the lake is the best nature study!

We've eaten lunch and dinner outside almost every day/night and we even got a fire going in our fire pit the other night.  All the boys love to find pine needles to make the fire burn higher, they throw sticks in and even found sticks to use as torches.  Having them walk around with smoldering sticks really made me nervous but they were totally in their element and loving every minute of it.

The boys have begged me to order a few of the Travel with Kids videos from our library but we ended up buying a series on Amazon for just a few dollars when they came in this afternoon the boys all cleaned up and headed to Ian's room to watch a few episodes.   We just love this fun geography series!

They're also helping me plan our family vacation this year and we've been reviewing a lot of geography lessons (as well as math lessons as we price things out).  They've even used the movies to research other things and places they'd like to go, do and see so who knows where we'll end up this year?!


  1. Lots of great ideas for summer learning!

  2. I love how your ideas not only keep their brains sharp, but that they are also fun to do!

    1. Thank you! I find that is certainly the key-- keeping it light and fun so that they WANT to participate.

  3. Love your ideas and your slide image! That looks like fun!!!


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