This post is sponsored by Smartick. All opinions are my own.
When I taught middle school, I taught the same students in both 7th and 8th grades. Every year, in August, I had to cover and review with my eighth graders basically everything I had taught them the previous year. It made for a boring first two months of school because the kids felt like they had already learned the material (they had), and I felt like I had already taught it (I definitely had). The summer slide is real, friends, and if we aren't actively seeking to push our kids and practice learned skills with them, they will forget those skills.
I'm not saying we need to sit and do lessons for an hour a day, but we do need to make sure that we are regularly reviewing skills they already have. Caleb is in preschool, which means he's not needing to retain copious amounts of knowledge. But we have been making sure we continue to practice the skills that he mastered last school year.
We have been using a couple of things to help us keep those skills honed. In Caleb's case, it has been mostly letter recognition and practice in writing his letters. But there are also skills like logic and reasoning that he gets on a regular basis when he's in school and he might not be getting as regularly at home. So what are we using? A couple of different things!
Smartick is a leading online math program for children ages 4-14. It consists of daily 15-minute sessions and can help your child master the math foundations, develop critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Smartick has collaborated with the MIT G-Lab, published by Harvard Business Review, and has been spotlighted as an Apple app favorite. Harvard research shows that children are more likely to forget their math skills, as opposed to reading, over the summer - learning loss isn't a joke! You can get a better scope of the program and register for their free 15-day trial at www.smartickmethod.com.
Caleb has been doing his lessons daily and he calls it his "work". He likes that I let him do his lessons on the iPad, and he is excited to complete them. Once he completes his lesson, I get an e-mail that tells me how he did on that day's lesson, what his speed was, and how many he answered correctly/incorrectly so we know if we need to work a little harder on anything in particular.
Want to try Smartick out? The awesome people over at Smartick have graciously offered you - my readers - a 25% discount on your first subscription. If you're new to Smartick, use this link to register and redeem your discount. If you have already signed up, apply the code: ToddlerandTopknot directly to your account from the Parent Page. Still have questions? You can reach out to them directly via e-mail or phone: firstname.lastname@example.org / 617-903-8842
Kindergarten Tool Kit
The Comprehensive Kindergarten Toolkit helps build a basic foundation of reading, writing and math skills as your child prepares to enter Kindergarten. The lessons are simple and written in a way that any parent can be a "teacher" to their child. The Toolkit comes with a booklet that contains lessons and information on teaching your child those lessons. It focuses on 10 main Kindergarten goals. It comes with four sets of flashcards (Upper and lower case letters, numbers 1-20, 25 Kindergarten sight words, and 10 colors and shapes). It also includes a whiteboard, pen and eraser, and a piece of sidewalk chalk. We have been using the letters, shapes and color cards mainly, but my goal is to start working on some of the sight words in the last few weeks of summer.
Magic Sketch Boogie Board
The Magic Sketch Boogie Board is an e-writer. This particular model has inserts with pages that can be traced, and some of those pages include letter practice. Whenever we have an outing, I pack the Boogie Board in my bag - it's lightweight, compact, and keeps him entertained. He doesn't always have to use the letter practice pages - there are coloring pages, mazes, and a few other sheets. It doesn't make noise, it's got a replaceable coin-cell battery that lasts for 5 years (yay for one less device charger!), and it's durable.
Sometimes I will model a word for him and he can copy it. Other times we dictate letters to him and ask him to write them, or we write the letters and ask him to identify them.
The Big Fun Preschool Workbook
I've shared this workbook before in my stories, and it's been a big hit. It's got activities for fine motor skills, for letter practice, and all kinds of stuff. It's done in a way where Caleb doesn't feel like he's "working" and that's always a good thing, right?
At the end of the day, I always try to make it fun. When we drive, I point out letters and numbers and ask him to name them. I'll have him count the number of grapes I serve him, and draw the number in the air. Magnatiles and STEM-based toys are always great (LEGOs count!), and anything that helps him learn a little about science (like the Melissa and Doug Magnetic Puzzle pictured above). If you're interested in some more toys that can be helpful for practicing some of those preschool concepts, check out my recommendations here.
Happy learning, friends!
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