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5 Ways to Educate Your Kids Over the Summer

By Mark Nyers

Summer is a wonderful time of the year because it allows families to spend time together, go on vacation, and enjoy life without routines and strict schedules. While there are many benefits of summer, it also has some negative consequences. According to a study conducted by the NWEA, students lose an average of 17 to 34 percent of the prior year's learning gains. This is a huge loss in learning that needs to be prevented.

The best way to ensure your kids are not losing their educational progress is to keep educating them over the summer. No matter how young or old your child is, there are always ways to keep them learning. Here are some of the top ways to promote learning and promote the love of learning for all children.

#1) Visit Educational Places in your Community

No matter where you live, there are bound to be some educational places in and near your community. Some of the most beneficial and fun include zoos, aquariums, museums, science institutes, and more. You can plan a day to visit one of these places with your children.

While visiting these places, talk to your children about what they see and like. Use the opportunities in front of you to create spontaneous conversations that promote learning. For instance, if you are at the zoo, try asking your child why they think certain animals act the way they do, or what they would change about the zoo and why. Ask as many "why" questions as possible to help promote critical thinking and abstract thinking skills.

#2) Visit the Library

There are libraries in every community. Whether your child is 2 or 17, they will love visiting the library. Let them explore the space and select a few books or magazines they want to read. Take the books home for two weeks and then go back again. Even if your child does not like one of the books they chose, they can get another one a couple of weeks later.

#3) Read to your Children

Young children will love getting the opportunity to read with their parents over the summer. Try reading for about 30 minutes each night together. This will be a time that your children will never forget.

Most children in middle and high school are required to read books from a specific list over the summer. They are typically asked to do a book report or take a test. Often, these books are not appealing to your child's interests. If this is the case with your child, you may want to consider reading the book with them and asking them questions about the book. This will help ensure that they are retaining what they are reading.

After you are done reading these books, you can actually get fun and interesting books for your child to read. Let them get a few books from the library or the store. The more your children read over the summer, the more likely they will learn.

#4) Budget for vacation with your Kids

If you have noticed that your children are struggling with math, you may be looking for ways that you can help them improve their math skills over the summer. Rather than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars over the summer on a tutor, you can promote your child's math skills yourself.

One of the best ways to promote math for children of all ages is to have them help you budget for a family vacation. The idea of vacation will immediately get your children interested in helping. Try having your children start with an initial budget, calculate costs for dinners and hotel stays, and determine whether it would be cheaper to drive or fly to the desired travel destination. Keep a journal of everything you calculate and have them check their work.

#5) Research Something New

Summer is a great time to learn something new and partake in a new hobby or interest. Help promote learning with your children by researching something new. This will be a great way to learn about what your child's interests are and how they are changing from year to year. Not only will this help promote learning, but it will help you bond with your child.

These activities are all fun ways to help promote learning for your children over the summer. While they can be done anytime during the year, they will benefit your child most during the summer when little formal learning occurs. These activities will help you understand how much your child really knows and help you bond with them over something wonderful and educational.

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