Keep kids learning during those slow summer months

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Dr. Merlyne Starr, Kansas City Campus Program Manager for University of Phoenix College of Education shares tips for parents to keep their children learning during the summer months. They call it Summer School's 'new meaning.'

Research shows that students lose significant knowledge during the summer months if they don’t participate in learning activities, which could be particularly challenging for the students in 42 states that have transitioned to the new Common Core Standards.

Based on a recent national University of Phoenix College of Education survey that found that educators largely agree (81 percent) that the Common Core concepts provide some tangible benefits for students. for University of Phoenix College of Education, is offering tips on how parents can incorporate Common Core themes into summer learning activities.

1. Connect math to real-world problem solving. Math assignments under Common Core will ask students to explain in writing how they arrived at their answers – not just to identify the answer. Use real-world scenarios, such as breaking down the household monthly utility bill to help drive the connection for your child.

2. Encourage more nonfiction reading. Under Common Core, students’ reading assignments will increasingly be nonfiction, such as online newspapers, autobiographies and technical manuals. While reading the paper each morning, encourage your child to participate by identifying articles that are age and grade-level appropriate. Then, have a family discussion to gauge your child’s understanding of the material.

3. Focus on real-world scenarios and activities that are application based. Move beyond memorization and bring lessons taught in the classroom to life. Go shopping and have your child evaluate sale prices to identify the best deal. Ask your child to calculate the tip at a restaurant. Visit a farmers’ market with a set budget and ask your child to select fruits and vegetables to make as many meals as possible.

4. Tie learning to specific careers. If your child isn’t a strong writer but loves science, visit a local museum and have her write a report and develop a digital presentation based on an exhibit she visited.

5. Visit the library. Under Common Core, students are required to conduct in-depth research from multiple sources and then discuss their findings with peers. Families can do similar activities on their own for an hour or two by visiting a community library.

6. Join the Pinterest community. This popular social media site has many at-home Common Core activity suggestions. New content is pinned to the site every day by teachers, parents and curriculum developers. These exercises can help kids have fun while preparing for the more rigorous Common Core math standards, which require students to be prepared for Algebra I by eighth grade.

7. Check out specific apps. Check out Common Core apps available on tablets or smartphones to help kids engage with technology and simplify homework time for parents.

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