Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Prepare for Back to School - Just Have Family Fun

Yesterday I talked about the importance of summer reading, but don't forget that summer is also the time for kids to relax and enjoy family moments.

According to Valarie Lee, Reading Professor at Rowan University College of Education, summer should be a time for family experiences. “You can’t underestimate the value of talking to your kids,” Dr. Lee explains. “It doesn’t have to be expensive vacations, but just opportunities to experience things with your kids. Going to the park, going on a hike, visiting the library - the things that are so enriching for them in the school environment are the conversations you have during those activities.”

Telling stories, playing games, and sharing events are wonderful learning tools for children. Even seemingly mundane activities actually promote learning. For example, Dr. Lee suggests that when visiting the grocery store, talk about products, prices, and print that the kids see around them.

And don’t let those commercials scare you that your kids are going to forget everything they’ve learned in school.

“We create this fear that the kids are going to lose all of this information,” Dr. Lee explains. “Reading is a good example of where they lose a little bit, but if they’re engaged in experiences during the summer that are going to create background experiences, then they bring that schema with them into reading in the Fall when they go back to school.”

This depressed economy has brought many families together, and that's a great thing. Research proves that having family meals together keeps kids out of trouble. It also forges important relationships and there's nothing like dinner table debate to educate every generation! Here I am at 50 years old blogging.....we can all learn from our kids!

So enjoy your summer and don't worry if your kids don't seem to be doing enough on the academic front. Enjoy the experiences life has to offer and they will be learning every day.

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