While the typical family is enjoying a casual summer schedule, research shows that the typical student brain is also taking a summer break and forgetting up to 40% of the information learned during the school year. Worse yet, can take up to 6 weeks to get back into the swing of learning once a student returns to school. In the average school year, that can add up to almost 50% learning loss overall, an overwhelming statistic in a make-it-or-break-it educational environment. The good news, however, is that while it’s easy to forget – it’s just as simple to put a plug in the drain and keep that brain active, engaged and learning while still having fun through the summer break.
Summer is a great time of year — the sun shines, days get longer and our schedules loosen. This makes it the perfect time to have a little fun and a lot of R & R, but how much of your family’s downtime is being spent in front of the TV or the Xbox? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite activities for your kids and your family to do this summer…
As parents, we can look forward to summer as a time with lighter schedules, less structure and no homework. Let’s face it — we all need a break, and the warm, carefree days of summer give us the perfect opportunity. However, too many lazy days can lead to boredom, resulting in the well-worn phrase “I’m bored.” Today’s kids have so much technology at their fingertips — TV, movies, video games, the internet — that it can take some special effort to get them engaged in a wider variety of activities.
Summer is a great time to get children involved in outdoor activities. When our children were young, our favorite family vacations were spent in northern Wisconsin. Each summer, we gathered our own four kids and a group of carefully chosen friends and headed north to play. Our plans included swimming, hiking, boating, fishing, game playing, bonfires — just about any kind of unstructured family fun. When we started the Wisconsin cabin tradition, our first cabins were pretty rustic, with few perks beyond running water. Over the years, the cabins have included a few more luxuries. I was determined to keep the focus on interactive play, so the first thing I did when we arrived was unplug the television and bury it in a closet. Initially, the kids were confused, but quickly caught on and took great pride in their ability to go without.
The Being Visual Blog by Bette Fetter: Insights and Tips on How to Develop a Child’s Visual Learning Skills
There is tremendous value in developing children’s creativity and learning abilities, but being creative is not just about the arts. Thinking creatively is the ability to see new solutions to a problem, to connect disparate thoughts and find and apply new ideas. This is a process of divergent thinking which comes naturally to right-brain, visual-spatial […]
While at Northrop Grumman speaking about the nuances of left and right-brain thinking, I saw a friend of mine who is a software engineer. After the presentation, he identified himself as a right-brain, visual-spatial thinker. This friend is also a musician — an excellent guitar player — so I asked how he thought that impacted his abilities as an engineer? He felt his participation in music had helped him develop the patterning, sequencing and innovative abilities that enabled him be so creative.
Recently, I was invited to speak to a group of professionals at Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor located in the Chicago suburbs. A friend of mine is the leader of their “Women’s Initiatives for Networking and Success” group, one of many organizations for Northrop employees. This friend had heard about my book, Being Visual, and thought there might be some valuable insights I could share that would align with their mission as a professional development group. I happily agreed and focused the presentation on a foundational aspect of Being Visual; the nuances of left and right-brain thinking and the way it influences learning and performance.
I have been teaching young kids how to draw for over 20 years. The classes and teaching method were popular and effective, so I made a business out of it. But it’s never really been about the business. All I wanted was to work with kids — to do art with kids — to teach and empower — to see their sweet faces light up with every new discovery. My young students thrived when they got the “how to” information they craved. And while teaching children how to draw, they taught me — again and again — how important art is to them.
I just returned from my printer after picking up a couple hundred copies of my book, Being Visual. Well, it’s not the real book — but the 95% version — the galley. But it looks like a book, smells like a book and feels like the real book. The galleys are the almost, almost, so very close version of a book. It’s the last stage before the absolute final edits, the version sent to magazine editors, media and reviewers. And while I am excited about being at the 95% stage, I am a bit in awe.