For people who care for children with disabilities …
As another school year comes to a close, I reflect on all of my son Jack’s accomplishments and am pleased by how far he has come and how much he has learned. Even so, I refuse to make the same mistake we made last year—we gave him a break for the summer. We thought he should be able to have fun, be a kid. I never imagined the impact of that, or how much I would regret our decision…until he started school this year. It took Jack, who has Down syndrome, a good month to catch up to the other kids, and he had to re-learn a lot of what he’d learned the year before.
Working here at Don Johnston, I’ve discovered that statistics show that all students lose a chunk of their new learning during the summer months—especially in the area of reading. But for Jack, and maybe for your child, it’s even more risky and harder to close that gap. This year, I am armed with my new information and am taking some measures to make sure I keep him ahead of the game instead of behind.
First, reading, reading reading…Jack can read books independently so he will do that with me (I’m shooting for daily), and then at night, I will read him books that are a little bit above his reading level (but really engaging and he gets to pick the story) in order to try to build his interest in various topics, build his background knowledge about new things and expose him to as many new words as possible.
In addition, I asked his teacher for some things to do over the summer and she created a summer homework packet for us. I purchased WordMaker from Don Johnston because he can work independently on that—he loves being on the computer. And lastly, I have found some websites (see the links at the bottom) that offer learning through games.
So what about you, what are you doing this summer? I would love to hear about the different ideas you have to keep your kids engaged and actively learning over the summer but still have fun!! Just reply to this message to tell me about it.
For more about WordMaker, read here.
Until next time,
As you can see, it’s not ALL work — Jack loves his karate class!