Learning at home during the summer

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Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2015 -- 7:46 a.m.

Between camps, sports, and vacations sometimes learning is forgotten about during the summer.

But preventing brain drain is important, so we learned about some simple, and inexpensive, things parents can be doing to keep the minds of their kids sharp.

"Summer is not a good time to just stop learning all together. Obviously for kids to make the best success and transition from one school year to the next, it's to maintain learning throughout the summer."

But summer school or a tutor just don't fit into every family's schedule, or budget.

"There are a wealth of opportunities to figure out ways to do learning at home, I think summer is really good time for families and kids to have a conversation about what makes learning fun."

Tessa Michaelson Schmidt from the Department of Public Instruction says there are a number of ways to make learning at home not only easy, but fun.

"Just finding ways to practice writing by making one of those Ziploc bags that's filled with gel, and you can kind of do the tracing in there, and just using some different kinds of paper and writing utensils to make reading and writing more of a fun thing than an assignment based activity."

She also suggests taking a trip to your local library.

"At Wisconsin public libraries, there are lots of opportunities to explore. Doing fun science experiments, craft opportunities, and I would suggest using that library as an inspiration for what you might be interested in," says Michaelson Schmidt.

Or you can take a mini-field trip. Even if it's just into your own backyard.

"It might be a trip to the museum, but it might just be a trip around your block and doing some counting or looking at something you found in a book and well, what's in our neighborhood?"

And while sitting in from of a computer might not be ideal for many families, taking advantage of Badgerlink can provide you with a treasure trove of ideas.

"There are articles, there are videos, there are all sorts of things, so it's kind of a one-stop online library that I would recommend families look in."

Overall, engaging in your child's curiosity of the real world will be your best teaching tool.

"You don't need to buy a lot of fancy things, you don't need to be the summer teacher for your child. Just to stay engaged, and to find things that they're interested in, you're interested in, and as many conversations or books or things that you can do together that kind of have that freedom of summer but also still keep the learning happening."

Michaelson Schmidt also suggests utilizing Pinterest as a place to gather ideas, whether it is for educational crafts, games, or printable worksheets.