After more than a decade of advocating for summer learning, I'm more conscious than ever about "practicing what I preach" and making sure that our kids have a fun and productive summer. I wanted to share a few specific ideas about what our two boys, who are 10 and 11-years-old, will up up to, as these are activities we would want all kids in this country to experience.
Math - We are signing our kids up for TenMarks' three month Online Summer Math Program. Our oldest son starts Algebra next year and we're hoping this will give him a jumpstart on some of the material he'll encounter. The math content on the site is customized into a "playlist" format and there are tons of online hints and videos. $39 is a real bargain for access to a website that enables our children to practice math at the right level a few times each week. In years past, we've had a hard time finding materials that created this type of personalized approach to math over the summer; this seems like a great solution, and they'll only spend about 20 minutes on it 3 days a week.
Reading - Our boys are finishing the 4th and 6th grades and will spend a lot of time this summer reading books. My younger son and I are currently reading White Fang by Jack London, and I suspect we'll find a few similar adventure stories to read this summer. Our older son loves dystopian fiction. The library is less than 5 minutes from the house, and we'll visit it regularly. They'll easily spend 1-2 hours each day reading.
Music - Both of our sons play instruments in the band (tuba and trombone). One of them is doing his first overnight band camp at a local college and he other is doing a day camp at the high school the same week. In addition to playing their own instruments, the camps will give them a chance to experiment with another one of their choice. They'll also be practicing independently about 120 minutes each week.
In addition to all of that, the kids will spend a lot of time playing basketball, baseball, Wii games, Rook, and Spades. We'll also follow the Orioles really closely, spend a week at the beach, and visit family in Mississippi. All in all, I think they'll have a great time. I'm hoping we strike the right balance between giving them a break from the routine and providing some opportunities that prepare them for school in the fall.
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