From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


6/11/2009 10:05:36 AM
Home School Legal Defense Association
HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter

HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
June 2009: Summer Learning Fun

By Faith Berens
Special Needs Coordinator

Whatever happened to the good old days of summer vacation? When I
remember the "hazy and lazy days" of summer, I think of hide-and-seek
until dark, bike riding, climbing trees, reading books, swimming,
roller skating, going fishing, camping trips, and making mudpies! My
summers also often consisted of helping my mom and grandparents in the
garden by picking vegetables and strawberries, as well as watching and
lending a hand in the process of canning. I did not know it, but I
was learning! Reflecting back on my fondest childhood summer
memories, these are the experiences I want for my daughter.

But today, as parents we are faced with scary terms such as summer
reading and learning loss. Indeed many children, especially
struggling readers, forget some of what they've learned or simply slip
out of practice over the summer. Ron Fairchild, executive director of
the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland
states, "One hundred years of research confirms that all young people
are at risk of losing ground academically over the summer months."
This Center also reports that, on average, children lose 2.6 months of
math skills. Research also shows that reading just six books during
the summer may keep a struggling reader from regressing. When choosing
the six books, make sure that they are just right--not too hard and
not too easy!

Particularly for struggling or delayed learners, summer can be a
perfect opportunity to address specific academic weaknesses and/or
gaps in learning. Summer enrichment or tutoring programs may be an
important part of your child's summer learning experience.

Parents may also choose to use at-home materials such as the Summer
Bridge Activities workbook series, created by Michele Van Leeuwen, a
mother of three. These workbooks provide daily activities in reading,
writing, arithmetic and language arts, and they offer parents
suggestions for how to motivate their children to engage in the
academic exercises. Van Leeuwen recommends that parents use the summer
to gauge their children's strengths and weaknesses.

So how can we keep our children learning all summer long, yet balance
it with relaxation and the gift of allowing our children to just be
kids? I think with a little creativity and planning, parents can help
their children combat the summer learning loss and still enjoy an
awesome, fun summer!

Here are some new (and some classic) ideas:

> To keep your kids' math skills fresh, have them play online games,
math skills games, and play board games as a family. Also, be sure to
include them in meal planning, shopping, and cooking, or they can help
price items, make change, and count money at your summer yard sale!
Don't forget the classic kids' lemonade stand! I particularly like
these game websites:

> Kid Zone:
> Game Aquarium:

> Learn to love your local library and check into the Summer Reading
Program that most offer! Obtain summer reading lists from either the
librarian or check out for
their recommended books for summer reading. As always, be sure to
preview books for content.

> Books on tape/audio obtained from the library are great to listen to
in the car, at home, outside sitting under a tree, etc.!

> Local summer camps, vacation Bible schools, as well as your local
performing arts center offer classes, workshops, and day camps provide
great activities.

> Have your child keep a summer journal and/or scrapbook, or write
letters, postcards, or email friends and relatives to keep writing
going over the summer.

> Create engaging learning activities by tapping into local resources
for short trips and field trips. I love the state parks, museums,
zoos, aquariums, farms, botanical gardens, etc. Check out at to find
local, natural places to swim and explore nature!

> Go on a virtual or actual city scavenger hunt in your town or a city
close by!

> Grab a blanket and telescope and go stargazing! Particularly, in
August, you can see the Perseid meteor showers, with predawn hours
being the best time to watch. Pack a picnic breakfast--this is one
family learning experience your child will never forget!

So with some creative thinking and planning, as well as goal setting
with your child, you can ensure he has a fun, learning-filled summer
(and you won't be too stressed out!)

The following web-based resources are packed full of fun activity
suggestions and information for parents.

On-Line Learning Resources:
> Kaboose:
> Reading Rockets:
> Family Education:
-> Remember the last time you wrote a term paper?

Research can be grueling-digging through archives, wading through
articles, conducting interviews. But if it's related to
homeschooling, you can relax a little. There's a good chance that
you'll find what you're looking for in HSLDA's bimonthly
Home School Court Report. Providing in-depth, insightful articles
on much of what affects the world of homeschoolers, the
Court Report is a must-read for the serious homeschooler. This
publication is provided free to each HSLDA member.

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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