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School Is Out, But How Do I Keep My Kids Involved So They Don’t Forget Their Main Subjects?
Well let me say that as a father of 3 grown children in his twenties and having taught math for 5.5 years in addition to being a part time associate professor there are plenty of options .
Let me start, that studies have shown that children start their next school year with less information
then at the end of the school year. It’s amazing that with all the hard work of studying and learning from August to May/June, children start school with less of this information retained.
Part of this is because many students don’t stimulate their brains by learning during the summer months. They fill their daily schedules by watching TV, working longer hours at work, parties, hobbies, family vacations, going to bed late, sleeping late, playing video games, etc.
So what can parents do?
Well, unless you’re homeschooling your kids in the summer months (my sister was homeschooled
her three children), have you tried these ideas?
1. Find out what subjects your children need help or assistance with. Maybe your child got their TAKS test results (in Texas, there is a year-end state test to measure a student’s retention and understanding of English, math, science, and in social sciences). Students must have a passing grade in all 4 subjects to graduate from high school. If they passed their school leaving exams, ACT, SAT exams, even the latest report cards, look at what subjects they did worst in. Maybe your child
have done well, but they’re looking to get accepted into college, need better grades, want to take AP classes, etc.
a. Search the web for free web resources in each of these topics. I used to teach a summer school math program at a local private school for middle schoolers called Middle School Math with Brain Teasers. Enjoyed introducing middle schoolers to pre-algebra and algebra concepts, while reinforcing skills they’ve already learned, but using puzzles and websites that had fun educational math/science games . It made learning the concepts “fun”.
Don’t use it as a punishment. During my teaching years, I wished I had a dollar every time a student said they couldn’t do math because they were stupid or not good at math. I’ve always believed in trying to get them to believe in themselves and have a positive attitude. I made math fun, exciting, and most importantly how it relates to the real world (science, English, art, social studies, engineering, etc.). I had a student a few years ago who hated math, but at the end of Algebra II she was smiling and she passed. Another student left school and came back a few months later and told me she had a 4.0 GPA in her nursing classes in college, and that was because of the Algebra II that I had taught him.
The idea is that tutoring or getting extra help should never be used as a punishment or to lower your
child. When I was in the military, if something didn’t get done the first time, you go back and look
to the task, the processes, how can it be improved, practice, practice, practice and repeat.
Life is like that.. It’s the reality that if you haven’t grasped the concepts of math, science, social studies or English, then guess what, sitting on the couch all summer at complaining about school won’t help you next year.
Acquire help. Try a few websites online. If you have your textbooks, review these concepts.
b. If you can’t do it yourself, see if your community has summer school programs you can enroll in. Some only last a few weeks, and only a few hours a day.
vs. Find a tutor who can help you. Maybe you have another student in your neighborhood that you can trust. Find a reputable tutoring company where you can bring a tutor from the comfort of your home (when you are home) and work one-on-one with your child. I did this for several years, and I had to relearn mathematical concepts. I saw a 7th grader with Cs and Ds doing A’s in Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra II. Making that investment for your child really helps…believe me, trying to tutor your child may not work. My daughter told me years ago, after she didn’t understand the concept of slopes, that she wanted me to be her math teacher… On the other hand, my two sons don’t didn’t like my drilling, asking questions, etc. I don’t like giving answers.
D. Visit your local library… Believe it or not, check out some of the books in your field. Even books like Math for Dummies, Idiot’s Guide for ???, have lots of great tips that will help your student, while making it fun and understandable.
e. Back to the library. Most have online databases and sample tests. Ours has several tests you can take to practice for your ACT, SAT and other exams. Look at your local library and see if they have online practice exams.
F. Take a summer course to get a higher grade in the class you need. If your local school has a preparatory class for beginning 9th grade students in algebra, this might help.
g. Video series… Personally, I like The Standard Deviants tapes and DVDs. They can cover a year of concepts in a fun and interesting way. Check to see if your library allows you to view these resources.
h. Last but not least. There are a whole world of internet resources for help. I know several who have TAKS practice questions, SAT prep, etc.
Hope this helps..This may not work with all students, but the idea is to keep them intellectually stimulated and continue learning over the summer….JohnK
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