What Works

Our Summer Learning Plan

Our last day of 1st grade is just days away at this point, and I’m sure I’m not alone in saying summer break can’t arrive soon enough. At our house, everyone is so, so ready for a break in the routine, a chance to do something different.

At the same time, it’s so, so important to avoid summer learning loss. With that in mind, I’ve crafted a summer learning plan that takes us far away from our regular school day routine but still gives us lots of practice in the skills and knowledge we’ve worked so hard to come by this school year.

Here’s our plan for a fun, educational summer:

Our Library’s Summer Reading Program

At first I thought we’d continue with All About Reading throughout the summer, but at a more relaxed pace. Nah. We’re all aching for a BREAK. Instead, we’ll just work toward, and I hope beyond, our library’s summer reading goal of 15 books for beginning readers.

Our librarians are AMAZING, and they do so much with the resources they have. Some other highlights of their summer reading program I’m excited about:

  • Weekly opportunities to read aloud to a dog volunteer (Funny, we have a dog, but it seems that reading to her doesn’t have the same appeal. As my friend says, “No man is a prophet in his own land.”)
  • An interactive history lesson with a local history group
  • A magic show
  • A visit from a park ranger, complete with snake-holding photo ops at the end


“Do you need some time on your own?


Don’t you know everybody needs some time all alone?”

-Guns N’ Roses

We definitely need some math time all alone… without Mama sitting alongside to instruct and correct.

All. Of. Us.

Computer/tablet time is pretty non-existent for kids at my house, so Mathseeds has a strong appeal for my poor, pitiful, screen-deprived children. They think they’re getting away with something (*insert evil laugh*).

If you tell them there are games you can play on a computer that don’t involve math, I might cut you.

Lunch Cafe

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This GENIUS idea from MathGeekMama is such a great play-based way to practice money skills. I printed out and laminated the free picture menus included in the download. Each day, I’ll let my kids choose what they want for lunch and practice counting out our realistic play money to “buy” their choices.

Lots of Time in Nature

We’ll continue our weekly nature walks, as much outside play as possible, and exploring in our favorite “secret” creek. I’m always amazed at how much my kids (and I) pick up just from spending lots of time outside – no worksheets required.

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Our Local Summer Recreation Program

We’re lucky to live near a community that offers lots of classic summer experiences for kids – tie-dyeing t-shirts, tennis lessons, crafts, field day games, and rocket building, just to name a few of the offerings.

The Nearby State Park’s Ranger-Led Programs

All year round, and especially in the summer months, the nearby state park offers programs about bats, owls, creek critters, wildflowers, and any number of other topics related to the natural world. Best of all, they’re always FREE.

Summer Camps

For one week this summer, I’m going to have mornings to myself (!) because both of my kids will be at day camps. My daughter is off to art camp again this year after successfully creating an entire portfolio of work at the same camp last year. My son, our budding entomologist, is off to wetlands camp and bug camp.

I love giving them these opportunities to spend a whole week immersing themselves in their area of special interest.

What will I do with those mornings? Um, probably clean the closets I’ve been haphazardly shoving stuff into all year. It’s a pretty glamorous life I lead.

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What about your family? Are you following a year-round schedule, or do you take a few weeks off to learn differently?

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