Although the school year is over, that doesn’t mean learning needs to or should stop. Keeping your child engaged over the summer and maintaining the momentum and progress made during the school year is one of the most crucial things you can do as a parent of a child with a learning disability.
Keep reading for some in-home advice and guidance on how to find a summer program that’s right for your child’s needs.
Tips for the Everyday
Keep your child reading. An easy way to continue to foster the development of your child’s reading skills is simply to keep them reading. Start off by getting them excited about going to the bookstore—frame it as a well-earned summer activity. Try tapping into what really interests them by helping pick out books they will find exciting and intriguing. Allowing your child to pick out books on their own will provide a level of independence that will hopefully make reading over the summer an enjoyable hobby, rather than a chore.
At home, try to form a scheduled reading time. Suggest having them read 15-30 minutes before going to sleep and build it into their bedtime routine. Blocking out time will help secure a definite amount of reading as well as provide a form of stability for your child.
Depending on your child’s learning disability, you may need to implement yourself into this reading routine. For instance, you may have to read aloud to them or sit by while they read aloud to you. Or maybe read the same book on your own time and meet up regularly to discuss each chapter. This meeting time will allow you to check in and see if your child comprehends the material correctly. Think of it as a fun book club activity that you both can take part in.
Encourage daily writing. Besides reading, writing is another critical skill that tends to wane in the summer months. In order to motivate your child to write, suggest a daily journal. Decide a minimum length for each entry, but allow freedom with the content. Again, this independence should hopefully strike up creativity and enthusiasm for journaling.
In addition, you can request to read each journal entry. During these readings go over any misspellings or grammatical errors with your child and offer constructive advice for improvement. Furthermore, setting a deadline will hopefully provide external motivation for your child to follow through on.
Find math in the everyday life. Help your child notice math in real-world situations. If you’re taking on a summer construction project, have your child assist you. Whether they’re helping you measure or calculate solutions, they are inevitably performing mathematic problems. Even if your child watches you partake in these actions, observation can help stimulate the mathematical mind.
You can even involve these lessons into your daily chores, such as cooking and shopping. For cooking, have your child measure ingredients or help divide recipes. In the case of shopping, you can have your child count out the cash at the register or have them help you figure out the sales tax. There are a number of ways to incorporate math into these daily tasks for any learning level.
Tips on Picking a Summer Program
Find a program that suits your child’s needs. There are a wide variety of summer programs specific for children with learning disabilities. There are camps that are heavier in academics, while others lean more toward the traditional summer camp model: sports, recreation, and activities. When looking for a summer program, try to find a balance between the two. Camps such as Eagle Hill’s summer session incorporate academic enrichment as well as electives and sports. Building a happy child comes hand-in-hand with building an intellectually confident child, so try to find a camp that appeals to both your child’s wants and needs.
Consider hiring a tutor. If you think your child does not have the time for a full-length summer program, think about investing in a tutor. For kids involved in other summer activities, tutors are the perfect educational incorporation. They allow a schedule that is convenient for both you and your child.
In addition, many school districts and community groups offer tutors skilled in helping kids with learning and attention issues. Sometimes it is these one-on-one tutoring sessions that can be the most beneficial learning experiences for your child.
Due to the lack of classes and structured learning, it’s common for kids with learning and attention issues to lose ground over the summer. But this doesn’t need to be the case. Although your child is out of the classroom, the learning doesn’t need to stop. Through in-home activities and outside help, you can reinforce the essential skills your child needs to succeed.