Back To School Mini Series Part 1: Summer Brain Drain

It’s almost time for school to start.  “What?” you say.  “How is that possible, where did the summer go?”  And yet back to school ads are in all the newspapers, and the in-store displays for school supplies and clothing are hard to miss.

As an educator I’m thinking, “Oh no!  How can summer be over, didn’t it just start?”  As a parent, you may have similar thoughts because right now the kids don’t have to be rushed out of bed in the morning, and the lazy days of summer can be so relaxing.  Reality is that now is the time to begin thinking about school as well as a plan of action needed to stop “brain drain.”  Research shows that children may easily lose one month of grade level equivalency during the summer.

This week, in part 1 “Summer Brain Drain,” we’ll make suggestions so that you can begin to engage the kids in “educational” type activities without them even knowing it. The following two parts will address strategies to make getting the kids back to school stress-free.

One of the best ways to get kids to start thinking again and using the knowledge they learned the previous school year is to engage them in Back to School shopping and preparations.

Start by planning a shopping trip to buy school supplies.  Step 1 is to have the kids create a list of supplies that they want, or think they need, to make the upcoming new school year perfect.

  • Younger kids can look at ads in the newspaper, cut out what appeals to them and make a “scrapbook.”  They could also go online, with your help, and look at the advertisements and create their own drawings, or make a list of their must have items.
  • First and second graders could do similar activities but be responsible for adding up the items and figuring out how much these items actually cost.
  • Give the older kids a budget to work with and let them use their math skills as they compile their list of supplies.  They might have to make some hard decisions, or at least ask for you to increase their spending allowance.  Be sure to encourage them to write an appeal for increased spending allotments.
  • And, finally, make sure your kids are reading at least 20 minutes a day!  They can read anything from books to magazines to newspapers – doesn’t matter!  But creating that time in the day will pay off when it’s time for schoolwork.

As always, our goal is for you, the ultimate teacher, to keep the kids engaged in learning and keeping their minds active without letting onto the fact that they are really taking part in educational activities.  Getting them excited about going back to school by engaging them in planning will hopefully make those first few days more stress-free.

Elaine Meyers, Founder and CEO – READS Homework Helper

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School is just around the corner and will be upon us much sooner than you think! Are your kids mentally ready? How are you preparing your kids to be razor sharp for the first week of school? We would love to hear about it!. Post your comments in the section below.

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