From School Ponds to Summer Lakes

In the dog days of the last month of school, this gorgeous lake calls to me complete with sand, sun, and serenity. I am ready to trade homework, assessments, parent emails, IEP meetings, and no sleep for this! Many families will be heading out of their safe, supportive school ponds to voyage into the lakes of summer. I have been wondering about the difference between lakes and ponds. Did you know that we assume lakes are bigger or wider in area than ponds? This is not always true. The differences are in the body of water’s depth and sunlight.

Lakes are deeper than ponds and do not have plant life at the bottom. This is because sunlight is unable to reach its deepest parts. In ponds, plant life abounds in almost every level. It is common to have rooted plants at their bases or deepest levels.

During the school year, children are rooted in learning with a spotlight on their education, just like the vegetation in the pond. This is the time when they grow and thrive. Summer time is like the lake with mysterious adventures into the deep and a few sprinklings of learning around the edges. Our children and teachers need the summer to relax, recharge, and rest before another school year. However, some children can not afford to let the “summer slide” happen. They have worked hard to keep up or make up for skills they were lacking.

This slide refers to the sliding backward in reading and math fluency, comprehension, and mental stamina. I have read it could even be as great as losing two years of growth! So, how do parents balance their child’s need for rest, fun, and keep them academically ready for the next school year?

  1. Book your summer adventures. Plan family time laughing and swimming in the lakes of life.
  2. Swim into shore whenever possible. Give your child the opportunity to keep their brain growing and learning. Schedule tutoring for the weeks you are in town. One day won’t cut it. Your child needs at least two to three times a week to make a difference. If you are traveling multiple times, then make the most of your time at home by scheduling more sessions the weeks you can.
  3. Download Apps to your iPad. There are some great reading and math fluency programs that you can get for your child. Set an expectation that they have to put in 30 min. a day before they have the rest of the day to play.
  4. Play board games and cards with your child. Games help develop their problem solving skills and executive functioning. They also help with counting, strategizing, and vocabulary acquisition. Plus they are just fun!
  5. Pick a book to read with your child. Snuggle in on the shore or at night to take turns reading. Have conversations about the characters, make guesses as to how it will end, and relate it to your own lives. This is not about a book report or taking an AR test. It is about growing closer to your child and instilling a joy of reading.

So, grab a raft or a fishing pole and create some amazing memories in the lakes of childhood. Just remember, that come fall, your child has to hop back into the pond of school, and you want them to be ready.


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