Stop The Summer Slide With Creativity!
Many schools are already out for the summer, though it’s not technically summer yet. How are those summer plans coming? While parents (and teachers) may worry about how to stop the “summer slide”, students are of course looking forward to enjoying a break – a break from routine, deadlines and stress. Is it possible to do both? Yes, of course! A little creativity will help you stop the summer slide while also recharging the batteries for the next school year – we’ll show you how.
Make Two Lists
Sure, pretty much anything that needs to be done starts with a list. But make one list of what you MUST DO and one for what you WANT TO DO.
The “must” list is where you add the academic tasks, the books to read and write reports on, the extra coaching or classes needed to polish up certain skills and so on. There might be non-academic tasks that must get done too – maybe related to sports, or a family trip, but we’re guessing that they are less of a chore!
Now for the “want” list – here’s where the fun stuff will show up. The summer break is a good time to refresh your brain as well as your spirit, so it makes sense to spend some of the time in doing non-school related activities. Hobbies that normally get little attention during the school year can flourish during summer. But, it is helpful to limit the list to the ones that would be most satisfying to get done. If joining a local theater group for a month is more exciting than building a robot with friends again for the second straight year, it makes sense to just list the first one.
For both lists, since there are only so many weeks during the summer break, it is important to keep them manageable!
Pick Your Activities
Starting with the “must do” list, the academic activities can probably be grouped into specific ones that have to be done a certain way (book reports for example), and others, like “improve your essay writing skills”, that can be done in many different ways from signing up for private tutoring and summer school to choosing more flexible online options (like on Meemli). Choosing the best way will depend on many factors like cost, timing, location, what is covered etc.
For the “want to do” list, again there could be many activities to choose from, ranging from do-it-yourself to organized groups, classes and programs with the same factors of cost, timing etc. influencing choices. The good news is that any area of interest can be made into something where you develop creative and critical thinking skills. From video games to art, anything can be set up as an activity that reduces the summer slide. (Check out our tips for projects you can do on your own that sharpen your brain while developing your interests.)
Time It Right
Yes, summer is not endless, and in fact, it usually flies by really fast. So with the “must do” and “want to do” lists all ready, there’s one more thing to figure out – when to do them.
Here are some basic tips that will help make the most of the summer break:
- start with a real break for at least a few days,
- mix in “must do” with “want to do” activities on a daily or weekly basis,
- and finally, schedule the academic work closer to the end of the break so your brain is already primed and ready for when school starts.
And hot tip to reduce stress: don’t pile it all towards the end of the break!
This may not have made it to the “must do” or “want to do” lists but it is something that all students should make time during the break. Whether it is playing games, watching movies, or just going out for ice cream, it is mentally and emotionally refreshing to spend time with family and friends, especially as there’s not much time to do that during the school year. Maybe they can join in some of the planned activities (taking classes with friends is a lot more fun!), but in any case, socializing – in person, not online! – should be something to make time for during summer.
With the lists and planning, whether for must-do or want-to-do items, you may despair that summer feels just like school – too much structure and scheduling! While some may enjoy that, it is important to give yourself some time to just relax with no schedules and nothing planned. Your brain, body and spirit all need it and you’ll find yourself more refreshed and willing to get engaged in your activities. Check out this article (great for parents as well as students) on why downtime is so important!
So set aside a few days to kick back, not worry about the summer slide or to-do lists and maybe find a real long slide in some park where you can go and enjoy being a kid!
Learning loss from the summer slide is easily prevented. It only takes a commitment to not spend all your time playing video games or streaming movies, but to mix in activities that engage brain and body, and have some open, unscheduled time as well.
Enjoy your summer!