There are 3 key things to help your kids with over the summer.
Regular reading is always a great thing to help your child. For young children, read to them and with them, reading the tricky words for them. Aim for daily if at all possible; as with all things, a few minutes a day is more beneficial than an hour at the weekend. As they get older, encourage them to read to themselves too. For older kids, getting ahead of GCSE and A level texts ahead of September can be a great help. Not all kids love reading – try getting them reading on a kindle, tablet or audio books. There is definitely a link between reading and writing; those children who read a lot tend to use better word choices in their written work.
Take a look at your child’s school report and see if school have highlighted any particular ‘next steps’ – using capital letters, commas, better word choices etc. Writing a daily journal can be a great thing for children (maybe invest in a gorgeous notebook specially for that purpose), book reviews, letters to relatives (who doesn’t like to receive a hand-written note), hand-made greetings cards, shopping lists etc.
For older children, time spent getting ahead of texts for GCSEs and A levels over the summer can be invaluable – taking notes, mindmapping (https://mindmapsunleashed.com/10-really-cool-mind-mapping-examples-you-will-learn-from and revision cards, can be a great help.
Handwriting formation is a great one to crack over the summer, when you’ve got a little more time on your hands. Just check with your school that you’re following the correct style for your school. Most schools teach joined up writing because it’s thought to help spelling if you join up the word in one sweep (it’s from NLP – a thought and an action combined). However, it’s important to get the individual letter formation correct first. Some children can be rushed into joining before this is secure. This site is a great one for advice and help, from another teacher and parent, and includes free handwriting resources. http://www.teachhandwriting.co.uk/
For children in years 1-2, a thorough knowledge of numbers – which ones add up to 10 and 20 (these are called number bonds). Learning doubles, halves and random single digit sums (e.g 5+7) are invaluable skills to work on. A good way to practise this is to make a game out of it. Get a 0-9 dice (type ‘0-9 sided dice’ into Amazon or ebay or use a random number generator) and throw them randomly to generate 2 numbers to add. You can throw twice for older children to get 2 digit numbers (e.g. 23 + 68). Again, 5 minutes daily is much more effective than an hour at the weekend. Children relying on adding with their fingers isn’t wrong at all, but it slows children down, especially as the maths gets harder. It also stops these problems becoming entrenched later down the line. Our tutors in Cambridgeshire and I have seen many GCSE students who still add up basic numbers on their fingers whilst being able to do Trigonometry and other much complex maths.
From KS2 (years 3-6) onwards, times tables are the back bone of maths success. Practise these so your kids can say them in random order and know the corresponding division facts. 25÷5=5.
For secondary age kids, after the basics (number bonds – numbers adding up to 10, 20 ,100 etc), doubles/halves, times tables), ensure that the formulae are known – area of a circle, Pythagoras, trig etc. My maths and other such sites are great for tutorials and practising tricky areas (fractions, percentages, decimals etc) over the summer too.
Thanks for reading. Speak soon,
Rachel Law is the founder of Tutor My Kids, a teacher and a mum.