Summer Daily Brainwork

From a child’s point of view, there are advantages and disadvantages to having a teacher as a parent. The time off over holidays and summer vacations certainly provides plenty of options for family activities. However, that additional time at home also means plenty of opportunities for learning and character development.

In our household, Dad was the teacher, and he had three sons. So this meant plenty of sports and outdoor adventures. This also meant that we were given a choice every summer: 4 hours of summer school each day at the nearby public school or 90 minutes of daily supervised instruction at home. It was not much of a choice. Each summer we chose the option that Dad affectionately labeled as Summer Daily Brain Work.

Despite our relief at finally graduating from Summer Daily Brainwork once we got summer jobs or took community college classes during our high school years, we have to admit that we learned quite a few useful skills each summer. The study skills were especially helpful, and to this day, we don’t understand why these skills are not taught and re-taught to mastery during the regular school year by “regular” teachers.
Maybe these study skills are not introduced because teachers assume that most are simply common sense and do not require instruction. Or, maybe each teacher thinks that “some other teacher” should or has already taught them. From our personal experiences, study skills need to be taught, not justcaught.
In 90 minutes a day, you can cover the study skills lessons designed to teach your child everything that his or her regular teachers “did not have the time” to teach during the school year. Here’s how to develop your own 90 minutes of Summer Daily Brain Work.
-Find out what your child’s relative weaknesses are by giving a brief diagnostic test: Pennington Publishing offers free diagnostic tests in phonics, spelling, grammar, and mechanics, just to name a few. Design short lessons to address those weaknesses.
-Have your child read for 30 minutes a day in a book at his or her challenge level. Not sure how to help your child pick a book that will best develop the vocabulary and comprehension skills that your child needs to achieve optimal growth? Check out these helpful articles: How We Learn Vocabulary from Reading Part II and Interactive Reading: Making a Movie in Your Head.
-Have your child study Greek and Latin vocabulary flashcards. Which word parts should they memorize? Check out this article with the most common prefixes, roots, and suffixes titled How We Learn Vocabulary from Word Parts Part IV.
-Have your child develop his or her writing style and build writing fluency by spending 30 minutes a day writing journals, thank-you notes, blogs, emails, stories, or essays, while using the techniques taught in this article: How to Improve Your Writing Style with Grammatical Sentence Openers.

Who says that summer produces brain atrophe? In 90 minutes a day of Summer Daily Brainwork, you can help your child get a jump start on next year’s schoolwork.
For those of you who don’t have the time to create Summer Daily Brainworklessons, check out the study skills lessons in the self-guided booktitled Summer Daily Brainwork. Each of the 40 study skill lessons will teach your child to “work smarter, not harder.” Students who master these skills will spend less time, and accomplish moreduring homework and study time. Their test study will be more productive and they will get better grades. Reading comprehension and vocabulary will improve. Their writing will make more sense and essays will be easier to plan and complete. They will memorize better and forget less. Lastly, their schoolwork next fall will seem easier and will be much more enjoyable. The easy-to-follow lesson format of 1. Personal Assessment 2. Study Skill Tips and 3. Reflection is perfect for self-guided learning and practice. Each of the 40 lessons (5 per week for the 10 week summer with 2 weeks off for vacation) is “teacher-tested” and “kid approved.”

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