What is the Summer Slide?
Simply put, the “Summer Slide” is the loss of knowledge that occurs over the summer. Think of it in terms of playing a musical instrument. If your child plays the piano, and they take a three-month break, some skills they had gained will need to be refreshed and reviewed because they are out of practice. Taking three months off can cause a need to review skills when school starts again in the fall. Don’t worry, with these tips for preventing the summer slide there is no need for your homeschooler to get behind!
School vs Vacation – who will win?
Studies show that the Summer Slide is real. They also show it’s important to take a break. This makes it look like an episode of “School vs. Vacation, Who Will Win?”.
Balance wins, and the wording you chose with your children.
We should never present school as something we need an escape from.
In the Happy Hive, our school year was 365 days a year. That’s right, weekends and federal holidays. We didn’t even take Christmas off. I told my children that every day was a school day because everything was learning. The activities of the day were school activities. Some days, that means books, math, cooking, and crafts. On other days, it means going to the bank and grocery store. (Everyone had their own items to find in the store, like a scavenger hunt!) Weekends were filled with field trips and chores around the house. Holidays were for gathering with the family – but all of it together was what made up the curriculum in the Happy Hive.
How to Prevent the Summer Slide
Summer provides us with unique learning opportunities. This openness to learning communicates that discovery and learning are a way of life. We show our children that we value learning new things and that learning does not need a vacation. It may look different from day to day – but we are lifelong learners!
Breaks provide us with the opportunity to view learning through a different lens.
In order to prevent the Summer Slide, you have to keep learning. You can choose to do this in many ways.
Adopt a year-round homeschool schedule
You don’t need to hold school 365 days a year the way I did. (Although I highly recommend it!) A 12-month school schedule allows for shorter breaks more often. You can easily take one week a month off near major holidays and still get in plenty of learning.
Provide learning activities during summer break
Another easy way to prevent the summer slide is to provide as many learning opportunities as you can. Here are a few ideas:
- Allow children to pursue passion projects that they don’t have time for during the regular school month
- Summer Reading
- As a family and independent reading (Audiobooks count!)
- Use this free printable to record how many you read
- Nature Journals – Draw what you see on your daily walk. Visit a different park each week.
- Daily Diary – start a kid blog
- View the moon and stars – extend bedtime
- Track the phases of the moon with this free download
- Online sites with great learning opportunities
- Brain Pop
- PBS Kids
- My Wonderful World – Geography from the Smithsonian
- Virtual Field Trips
- Travel the world with 14 different field trips!
Recognize that play is learning
One of the BEST ways to avoid the summer slide is simply to engage in play. Play is a very powerful form of learning.
Create a pretend grocery store and restaurant. These places encourage literacy skills, math, and problem-solving skills. Setting up a zoo with stuffed or plastic animals increases vocabulary. Using imagination reduces stress and anxiety. It allows kids of all ages to play together and have a social outlet. Children share and take turns, negotiate and compromise to name a few important skills.
Set goals together
You can work together to set goals that are just for the summer, or that will begin in the new school year. Setting goals is not a “set them and forget them” system. It is important that goals are revisited often, and that kids have support for their goals. Using the Goal Setting Templates and Mentor Worksheets from Happy Hive Homeschooling can help this process.
Here are a few ideas you can use for goals:
- Learn an instrument
- Fitness goals
- Change an undesirable habit (fewer video games, reduce sugar intake, etc.)
- Learning goal – read # minutes a day, learn math facts
Don’t ignore the summer holidays
Summer Time Holiday Fun
Summer is the perfect opportunity to use the holiday of the day as your learning activity.
I always felt bad for kids who had summer birthdays. They didn’t get cool classroom parties like those of us with birthdays during the school year. You can celebrate – but not ON or near your birthday. In the same way I feel bad for the summer holidays!
School may be out officially, but if you have been including holidays as part of your curriculum, there are summer holidays you won’t want to miss. I had the pleasure of participating in the Homeschool Summer Fun Guest Blogging Event hosted by Blessed Homeschool and the topic of my post is: 5 Unique Ideas to Beat Summer Boredom.
Head over when you get the opportunity and check out my GUEST POST. You’ll see how easy it is to avoid summer boredom by planning ahead. I also go into detail about some of my FAVORITE summer holidays and get access to the freebies I designed to go along with them!
Ways to celebrate in June
Coming up in June you have the opportunity to Celebrate Bingo Day! June 27th you can use your own bingo game, go online and make a custom game with a bingo game generator or use The FREE Oreo Cookie Bingo available as a special download on THIS POST. Bingo became popular after Edwin S. Lowe began making bingo boards in the early 1930s. They were modeled after a game he saw being played at a carnival in Atlanta called BEANO.
Camera Day is June 29th. This is a wonderful opportunity to plan a family picture or even just a photo opportunity of the kids. Photography also has a rich history your older learners may like to explore. Using a camera is likely what most kids would enjoy most, so why not plan a photo scavenger hunt? You can take any of the hunts from our Scavenger Hunt Mega Pack and add the element, that in order to get points, you must take a picture of the item. We also have a FREE Photo Scavenger hunt available HERE
July Fun for everyone!
July starts off with a great holiday all about the history of Postage Stamps in the US. We have a complete blog post about called the STUDY OF STAMPS and POSTAL HISTORY. You can read about the first Postmaster General as well as how the post office was reclassified as the Post Office Department. Learn all the ins and outs of Stamps and when and why they were first used in our complete resource: HISTORY OF US POSTAGE RATES. If you’d like a fast Freebie to celebrate the day you can download our Design A Postage Stamp Template.
Many of our common household items are things we take for granted. One of the original designs for the Tape Measure in the 1820s sold for $17.00 at the time. In today’s dollars, that’s about $300. That’s a chunk of change for the convenience of carrying around a measuring tool! Celebrate Tape Measure Day on July 14th by recording all the ways your kids “measure up” using our Homeschool Summer Fun freebie available HERE.
August Summer time holiday fun!
Celebrate the end of summer holidays in August with Waffle Day. Playing with your food will create original works of art when you follow our step by step tutorial for waffle painting. I hope you have some waffles to eat at some point too! August 24th, Waffle Day, is actually when the waffle iron was invented! I won’t tell if you just pop some frozen waffles in the toaster though!
Hidden Learning helps prevent the Summer Slide
Summer provides us with so many learning opportunities. Not only am I excited for summer time holiday fun, I’m excited for what I like to call “Hidden Learning”. Hidden learning is quite simply regular learning, but the kids don’t even know it’s happening. I don’t announce: “For school today, blah blah, blah” or any such nonsense. I just whip out the activity, load them in the car, or gather the friends and relatives!
One summer, A colleague of mine needed to preview a local museum for a field trip she was planning. Rather than go alone, she invited our family to join her. Disguised as a way to help my friend, we drove into Los Angeles and had a day FULL of learning.
Other summers we like to invite over our friends and family who are on break for a week of what we call “Camp Crabtree”. During this week we all work together to put on a backyard theater production. We use dress up clothes for costumes, or complete simple sewing projects. Creating art projects and props, memorizing lines and always, always lots of fun are on the “lesson plans”. Friday evening, all the families are invited to our production!
Thanks for stopping by Happy Hive Homeschooling for Tips for preventing the Summer Slide!
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I’d love to chat with you each week about the methods I used to organize, schedule, and lesson plan in my homeschool with the hopes it will help you have a happy hive too. In the meantime, “Bee” sure to check out the different methods of homeschooling as well as our 3 easy strategies for burnout.