School is over. "Great!" say children! Now we can just “chill out” all summer and watch TV. So, how can we parents avoid the dreaded “TV Tube”? One answer: take advantage of all the things that children enjoy and the learning that comes from that.
Combine outdoor activities with learning experiences. For instance, at baseball games ask your children to keep score, check batting averages of baseball players, runs batted in and analyze, for example, Pujols’ hitting averages with his strike outs, with his runs batted in.
Or, take Metro-Link and figure out how much money is made on each trip by checking the cost of a ticket by the number of riders on your train. Families can go round trip, figure out how many miles it was, how long it took and how many miles per minute the train goes from one stop to the other.
Or, go to the butterfly house, look at the cocoons and learn about the metamorphosis of the butterfly. Your child will be fascinated. Take a long walk with your children (promising a treat at the end), discover how far you have gone, how fast the children walked and how many miles per hour they went. The same can be experienced on a bicycle.
These are just a few examples of leisure and learning. I am arguing that summer can be both fun and academically rewarding. Three months is a long time without formal learning. Don’t let your children slip academically; rather help them to leap forward with pleasure. Schools cannot do it all!
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Susan Uchitelle is a consultant for the Voluntary Interdistrict Coordinating Council.