As of Sunday, it was officially summer. Some of you may have a week or so left of school, while others have been out for several weeks. Some of you are homeschoolers and have set your own “break.” Others will be joining me in sending a child off to school for the first time come fall (How is it that my baby is starting Kindergarten?).
Regardless of how your children are educated and whether or not they love school and learn easily or struggle through some aspect of their schooling, it’s an undeniable fact that children do better if they never stop learning.
We love downtime around my house, and in between camps and vacations, we have a healthy helping of “do-nothing days.” But I have to admit that as much as I enjoy taking advantage of the downtime myself by spending more time reading while the children enjoy their free time, I also like to use the summer to work on projects — be they school skills, an extra project (such as fun creative writing for my daughter who enjoys that), or helping-around-the house skills.
My ten-year-old daughter Amanda and I had the chance to preview a Summer Bridge Activities workbook. I knew that Amanda would be thrilled (Can you imagine the sarcasm dripping from my typed words?). As I anticipated, she rolled her eyes when she saw it, and asked, “Do I have to do that this summer?” I told her I thought it would be a good idea, but would she at least look it over to help me review it.
She immediately saw the motivational calendar at the front of the book which said, “My parents and I decided that if I complete 15 summer bridge activities and read ___ minutes a day my incentive/reward will be: ”
“Reward? I get a reward?” she asked. I would not have believe how quickly that little incentive would change her attitude about this workbook. She was immediately on board (I shouldn’t have been surprised, because I had already seen how the incentive of the Chore Board Game took the nagging out of chores).
The page has a nice checklist for her to color in a star for each activity page she completes, and a book for each time she reads the allotted amount. There are two other sections with similar pages, which I like, because the goal of filling in 50 stars is not seen as attainable. The first two sections deal with review, and the third section is designed to be an introduction to the coming year. We looked through the Summer Bridge Activities: 5th to 6th Grade, and I found it be on target as far as what Amanda learned in math, geography, and grammar. There are some things that she didn’t cover, such as biology (circulatory and digestive systems and more), but this would be a fun enrichment activity for some kids.
Remember how I mentioned that I like to take those extended hours to focus on responsibilities, behaviors and that type of thing? Summer Bridge Activities has that covered too. The back has pages (with activities) devoted to character traits such as Responsibility, Gratitude, Manners and more.
This was my first experience with the Summer Bridge Activities from Carson-Dellosa, but I find myself asking, “Where have you been all my life?” I love the colorful pages, the accurate and challenging content, and the motivational calendar.
One of you will win a copy of THREE workbooks of your choice (available for Pre-K to K through 7th to 8th grade). Leave a comment if you’d like to win (U.S. addresses only), and tell us which ones you would like. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s column.The giveaway is closed.
We don’t have a winner to announce, because the I Spy A to Z book is still open for entries for a couple of more weeks.