By Jacquie Goetz Bluethmann
Remember when you wanted your child to sleep in? Now your tween rises after morning’s come and gone. Ahh . . . the challenges of a middle schooler on summer break! But even though school’s out, the learning must go on. Why? Because summer learning loss can set a child back academically by as much as two months.
To keep your middle schooler’s hard-earned vocabulary from regressing, launch a word-of-the-day (check out SuperKids’) contest. Agree on a prize for learning a summer goal (say, 50 new words), then have your tween write each day's words on a note card and tape it to the fridge, record himself saying it and make it his ringtone, even get an extra reward for working it (correctly) into conversation.
While "grammar lesson" reeks of boredom, Mad Libs are fun — and guess what? They’re a terrific way to reinforce parts of speech — and an even better way to pass the time on long car rides. The answers will make you all laugh, and you’ll be smiling on the inside as your child learns. For your child who’s "sick of books," try a new tack with a just-for-fun series perfect for this age range. Since we all know tube-time skyrockets during the summer, negotiate a sneaky learning element: Let your child watch a little extra — but only with the closed captioning (aka subtitles) turned on. That way, at least subconsciously, your child will read along as he watches. For fun, give him bonus minutes for each misspelling, grammar error, or otherwise incorrect caption he catches.
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