By Jessica Vician
What homework can teachers assign to parents to prevent the summer slide and keep them engaged with their kids over the summer?
Before the school year ends, make a pact with other teachers in your school to teach parents about the summer slide and offer tips to prevent it. If every teacher encourages parents to maintain the skills and knowledge their children learned this year, teachers could jump right into the 2016-17 school year instead of playing catch-up.
Start with these four approaches and ask your principal to post tips on the school website and send out an e-newsletter to help reach parents and guardians.
Inform the parents
At your final parent-teacher conference or during report card pick-up, tell parents about the summer slide and what can happen when children don’t practice the skills they learned throughout the school year. Once they know about the problem, they can make an effort to prevent it.
Create a lesson plan
Take the learning outcomes that your students achieved this year and use those as a starting point for a brief but summer-long lesson plan.
In this lesson plan, note key concepts that your students learned this year and suggest a few ways parents can encourage their children to practice those skills.
For example, if the kids learned basic fractions this year, then on pizza night parents can ask their kids what fraction of the whole pizza is one slice.
Your lesson plan can be as involved as you want—from one small activity a week to a larger project that the students can focus on for a whole month.
Encourage summer learning time
Parents can buy workbooks for their kids to practice throughout the summer. Encourage parents to set aside 15 to 30 minutes each weekday for their kids to complete a workbook page and challenge them to read a book or novel at their reading level during the summer.
Focus on the four areas of success each week
Remind parents that they must nurture each of the following needs in their child: social well-being, emotional well-being, physical health, and academic development. Encourage them to plan activities each week that address each of these needs.
For example, attending a new swimming class at the YMCA would satisfy both social and physical needs, as the child would meet new people and exercise. Reading together before bed would satisfy both emotional and academic needs, since the parent would spend quality time with their child, who would be learning to read or reading at the same time.
For more ideas on nurturing these areas of success and encouraging parent engagement between parents and children this summer, see the YOU: Your Child’s First Teacher books and refer parents to YouParent.com.