Back to School Brains
It’s time to buy school supplies, backpacks and plan what to pack for lunch. But what are you doing to get your child’s brain ready to be back in the classroom? I recently interviewed three moms to find out what they’ve been doing to warm up for school.
Sara has two elementary age boys, a 2nd grader and 4th grader. They’ve been busy all summer balancing play time and academics. Here are a few things they’ve been doing:
- Math – Sara’s boys spend 10 to 15 minutes a day on math, but she makes it fun with an app called – MathWorkOut. With categories like – Addition & Subtraction, Multiplication & Division, The Brain Cruncher and Times Table Master – kids of all ages can play speed games that help them review and refresh their math skills.
- Reading – Every night is reading night. Whether its mom reading to the boys or, as it gets closer to school, the boys reading to mom; reading 15 to 30 minutes a day keeps them limber and interested.
- Drawing – Sara says they are always drawing at their house. Drawing is great preparation for classroom activity that requires kids to slow down, sit still and pay attention to small details. It’s also great for developing their handwriting skills.
Julie’s kids are older, two graduated college and have impressive careers and the other two are well on their way to similar future. When I asked what kind of things she did to get them back to school ready when they were younger she shared :
- Reading – All summer long they spent 10 to 30 minutes a day reading, depending on their age. The more they enjoyed the books they were reading, the longer they read.
- Writing – Each child spent time writing in a journal on a regular basis. But as it got closer to school starting, she gave them writing prompts (mini assignments) to help inspire their writing. They wrote about a favorite place they went that summer, a favorite activity or a special adventure.
- Routines – Whether it’s packing for camp or getting ready for vacation, summer provided lots of opportunities for the kids to plan and organize. Julie made sure her kids took an active role in the necessary school preparations, knowing those skills would carry into life and school.
Pam’s kids are 5th, 9th and 11th grade and while they’re well past flash cards and journal writing, they have higher level reading and writing assignments to complete before they get back to school. Here are some things she did when they were younger and things they need to do now.
- Khan Academy – is an innovative organization with thousands of education tutorials online – and all free. There are tutorials and videos for all ages, on all subjects and the visual aspect of their teaching is great for all types of learners.
- Math Workbooks – Pam’s daughter loved word problems, so they got her stacks of workbooks to enjoy. This is great for kids who like the word problems and also good for the visual kids who may need some practice getting ready to be back in the classroom doing this kind of thinking.
- Reading Lists and Papers due– Many middle and high schools give summer reading assignments.
It’s time to check in and see how those are coming along and set a schedule for completion. If there are papers to write, be sure to give your visual learners some help organizing their thoughts before writing.
Enjoy these last few weeks of summer and I hope these moms have inspired some ways to get your kids back in the school grove. I’d love to hear what kinds of things you’re doing to get your kids ready!
Founder and CEO of Young Rembrandts and Author of Being Visual