Thursday, May 31, 2012

Good-bye, bad-bye

A sense of curiosity is nature's original school of education. ~~Smiley Blanton

How did it get to be the last day of school already?  Where did the school year go? 

Friday is the first full day of summer vacation for my children.  No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks.  Except that there will still be pencils and books.  My children will probably get more dirty looks from their mother this summer than they did over the school year from their teachers.

My kids are fairly good students, but even they suffer from summer brain drain.  I'm going to try to make more of an effort to prevent that this year.  We're going to play yahtzee, monopoly, or any number of other games where you end up doing math.  The girls will continue to read without much influence from me.  We'll travel and explore new things.  We'll do our best to not slide back from where we are now.

Summer brain drain can be easily overcome.  It does take a little bit of effort, but it isn't impossible to prevent.  Probably the easiest way to prevent it is to limit the screen time for your child.  TV, video games, computer time, movies, iPhones, iPads, the list goes on and on.  If it has a screen, it needs to be included in screen time.  This is the easiest and most difficult thing to do.  Chances are that when the screen is removed, the complaining will start.  "I'm bored.  There's nothing to do."  Which eventually leads to no screen time for a day or two.  At all.  Which is as much a punishment for me as it is an eye-opening experience for my children.  It usually only takes a few days of no screen time to make them remember that there is more to life than a screen.

Go outside and explore.  Yes, it can be very boring.  Especially when your child is completely engrossed in an ant hill and wants you to join in the fun of watching it.  For hours.  Give it a few minutes, and talk about the things you see.  If your child has questions, find the answers.  Even better would be to help them find the answers for themselves.  If you have questions, ask them.  What kind of bug is that?  What kind of flower is that?  Where is the Big Dipper?  Find the answers to these questions and your child may not be the only one who walks away from summer with a broader knowledge than they started with.

Let the summer learning begin!

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.

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