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Summer Brain Drain

My kids with their cousins last summer

My kids will be out of school tomorrow.   “Holy Cow!  School just started, like, yesterday…”

I’m actually looking forward to having my kids home this summer and the time we get to spend together.

But I know from the past that I need some structure or summer will be hard.

I’ve been working on a schedule and reworking our job charts.

I always have high hopes when I redo job charts, but the reality is, I really struggle sticking to them.

Don’t get me wrong.  My kids are hard workers and get their jobs done… most of the time.  Where I struggle is keeping the job charts current each week, marking things off, and keeping consistent with a reward system.  I’m trying to make them easier to stick to.

Three things are going on the charts that I know will help them next fall when school starts again.

  • 20 minutes of reading
  • 10 minutes of math practice
  • Writing in summer journals

For the reading, our town is too small (uhhuh… cheap) to have a public library.  Usually we are able to go the our school library once a week, but since they are retro fitting our school for earthquake safety, I’m thinking it’s time for Draper Library pass.  Draper is around the point of the mountain, but it would be wonderful to be part of a large library system again.  We do have a library bookmobile that comes to our town every two weeks too, but it’s just a bit limited unless you remember to order something ahead.

Our wonderful school librarian, shared that, “Students who don’t read over the summer show a decline in test scores from the end of the school year to the beginning of the new school year.  Research done at Harvard University by James Kim shows that reading 4 to 5 books over the summer helps to prevent the summer slump.”  Reading is top of my list for the kids this summer.

Math will be easy, since we’ve downloaded some wonderful iPad apps so the kids can play like Math Bingo, Rocket Math, or playing with the Hundreds Chart.  It’s not hard to get kids to want to play a math game when it’s video game.  If you don’t have a tablet, there are also lots and lots of math worksheets available to print for free online.

Last but not least, we’ve made journal covers in the past, this year I’m adding a fun twist.  If the kids don’t know what they want to write about or if I want them to write on a certain subject, I’m making a journal jar.  Here’s a list of the prompts I’ve written and if you’d like, you can download a copy here.

I can’t wait to read some of the things my kids will write this summer.   One day to go before it all starts….

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7 Responses to “Summer Brain Drain”

  • Melanie Pocock:

    Calli, I have had a pass at Draper Library since we moved here 6 years ago. Our city will reimburse half of the annual fee and I couldn’t live without it. It is an AWESOME library and county system. Personally, I would rather see Utah county get its act together and form a county library system before our little town pays to put together a small town library. There are so many more resources when the county shares them! That is one of my “hot buttons” for living here. I can’t understand why our county doesn’t have a system like this. It is virtually standard everywhere else in the US! Let me know if you want more info about Draper. It is a bit of a drive, but it is beautiful! Love your summer ideas! Thanks!

  • We just moved to Saratoga Springs (not sure if that’s where you are or not) from Orem and I am already mourning the loss of that amazing library being so close. We have been going to the Thanksgiving point story time on Wednesdays but I’d love to find a good library again.

  • Calli:

    We should all find a way to petition Utah County to establish a countywide system like Salt Lake County has. Books can be transferred from the Downtown library all the way out to Draper. It’s such a shame not to have good libraries in all our communities. That’s my soapbox for the day.

  • Love your list for journal topics…and cute blog. found you off pinterest!

    Thanks for listing out the topics. I am so excited to start this with my little honey who just finished Kindergarten and see what he writes about each summer ♥

  • What great ideas for keeping kids engaged in a life of the mind over summer vacation. My husband will LOVE the idea of 10 minutes of math on the chore chart every day. I’ve sent the article to my girls’ teachers. We still have 2 weeks to go.

    How sad that you don’t have a local library. I suppose that’s the price you pay for living in a small town sometimes. I’m out in Massachusetts, where you can get any book from any public library and most of the colleges with a free card from the public library that’s rarely more than 15 minutes’ drive away. Full disclosure: my mom was a librarian, I briefly worked for the state library agency, and my husband and I chose our home partly because it’s a 5 minute walk from the library.

    With those last 2 weeks, you’ve inspired me to make book bags for the teachers. I’m working on a Bag of the Week blog (ogno.blogspot.com) and if they end up there, I’ll be sure to cross-post. I should probably let the girls choose the fabrics, but I may have to get started while they’re not around.

    • First grade teacher’s reply:

      What a coincidence! I just had a nice lady donate notebooks to the class and I was pondering how to use them. Great idea! There might be enough for (the 3rd grade) class, too. Just the idea of a new notebook will be motivation for some students. :) Thanks!

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