Sunday, August 10, 2014

Avoiding Summer Slide - Tips & Suggestions (#1 Khan Academy)

I LOVE summer break!

From the beach to boat trips to lazy pajama days, there is so much that makes me happy about the summer.

I like to be able to take my girls out to experience life.  I want them to have amazing memories from their childhood.  When they look back on their lives as they get older, I want them to smile - not because they remember the things they had, but because they remember their feelings and experiences.  

While there are so many fun things for kids (and adults) to do when they're on break, that doesn't mean that responsibilities can be completely neglected.   This is especially true if you're trying to avoid the dreaded summer slide.  

I consider myself to be quite fortunate.  My girls are bright.  Even if they do experience a bit of summer slide, they are able to quickly recover.  Last summer, I made sure that Peanut and Pumpkin both read, but other than that, I didn't really worry too much about their "schooling" during the summer.  This year, I tried to create a schedule that would allow them to work on more than just reading during these fun-filled summer months.  

Have you heard of Khan Academy?  
Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere.
All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.
I had an amazing friend tell me about Khan Academy last year.  This summer, I decided to sign my girls up and have them work on their math skills (though there are many other subjects to choose from as well).  Peanut and Pumpkin spend 1/2 hour each weekday morning practicing skills that they have previously learned as well as learning new skills.  The curriculum includes questions/problems to solve, hints, and even videos explaining topics that might be new to you or your children.   Generally, the girls can practice on their own while I am getting other things done around the house.  Only occasionally do they have a question that one of the videos or hints doesn't answer for them.

One of my favorite things about Khan Academy (other than the fact that it is completely FREE!) is that they send me a weekly update telling me how much time my kids have spent on the site.  They also send a breakdown of the skills they are working on, having trouble with, and have mastered.   Another bonus - my kids enjoy doing it!  :)

While I can't say exactly the impact that Khan Academy has had on my girls' success in school, I do have to say that it does seem to be a wonderful program.  I have recommended it to all of my friends and family with children (and may actually brush up on my own math skills this fall).   I'd be interested to hear your opinions as well.

I have a few more tips and suggestions that I'll be sharing in future posts.  Do you have any other ideas or sites that have been helpful for your family in preventing summer slide?


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