Schools out for summer! The teachers have done an excellent job this year (I hope) and so have your children. As a former classroom teacher, this time of year gets super busy- closing out grade books, determining summer school needs, conferencing with parents, field day, graduation. The list goes on and on and on!
Many parents have summer plans laid out for their children to include summer camps, vacations and trips to grandma’s house. But as an educator, I urge parents to take some extra steps before school officially ends. These three steps are crucial to helping your children avoid the summer learning dip and to stay on target for the next school term:
- Have an end of the year conference with the teachers. I know you think this is crazy and not necessary but hear me out. The final report card will give you a grade point average, some computer generated comments and school info. It doesn’t tell you the skills your child may be lacking to prepare for the next grade level. Chat with the teachers to find out what your child can practice over the summer. Ask for free resources as well. Believe me, they are throwing stuff away this time of year. Find out what your child’s standardized test scores are and what do they mean as it relates to progressing to the next level.
- Ask what type of books your child likes to read and set some goals for summer reading. I know schools give out extensive book lists for required reading BUT your child may have his/her own interests and those are important too. Make reading a priority as a home. Turn off the tube, social media and engage in reading. Yes, you too. And don’t forget about math practice. There are so many ways to keep math going during the summer through cooking, gardening, sports, weather predictions, charts and graphs, trips and much more. Be innovative so that math is fun.
- If you don’t know the Principal, meet with him/her to discuss any concerns and offer to assist when you have time. Not only will you give back through service but you’ll get a chance to be a part of the school community. Ways to volunteer include serving on a school improvement council, joining the Parent-teacher organization, putting up or taking down boards for teachers, helping in the media center, reading to classes, assisting at sporting or extracurricular events or lending a hand wherever you may be needed. Offer your support and watch the impact you’ll have.
Wrapping up the school year is much more than just receiving a report card, going to field day or handing out tasty treats on a field trip. With the current state of education we all have to jump in and be a voice for our children, teachers and education as a whole. As the saying goes, “the mind is a terrible thing to waste.” So, look at your calendar and start on this list. I promise you won’t regret it and you’ll be much appreciated by my fellow educators.
Remember, no matter where you are in the hustle of life, you must have faith!
PS. Let me know what you think or what else should be added to this list, especially if you’re an educator or very involved parent. And…feel free to share with someone else. 😉