Monthly Archives: May 2012

10 Ways to Fight the Summer Slide, Part II

This is Part II in a two-part series on keeping skills sharp during the summer. In Part I, Kristen Thompson shared five stellar (and easy to apply!) ideas. Here are five more that are sure to make keep your child happy…and learning. 

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Five More Ways to Fight the Summer Slide

by Kristen Thompson

Tips one through five were shared here. Here are five more ways to keep your student on their toes (and lovin’ it) during the next couple months.

  1. Utilize Summer Programs. Take your children to summer library and bookstore programs. Most will post them online, but you can also request a calendar of events. Many libraries really crank it up a notch during the summer and hold fabulous, free activities and book clubs for students.
  2.  Be Choosy about Summer Camps. Consider registering your child for summer camps that encourage kids to use their minds on science projects, exploration, creative writing, music and art.
  3. Train the Brain. Use the summer to strengthen your student’s cognitive skills through one-on-one brain training to improve memory, visual and auditory processing, attention, and logic and reasoning. A core of strong brain skills will help them head back to school with the tools to succeed at learning in any subject. Unlike tutoring, which focuses on academics, brain-training addresses the root causes of any learning struggles. (For more information on brain training, see
  4. Get Musical or Lingual. Encourage your child to learn an instrument or another language. Studies have shown a strong correlation between “Arts” and “smarts.”
  5. Pick the Right Books. Learn how to choose age-appropriate books for children and teens. Reading is Fundamental has a great brochure that offers basic tips on what to look for. Your local librarian can also help you select books for your child’s interest and reading level. According to Scholastic Parents Online, reading just six books during the summer break can be enough to keep a struggling reader from falling behind.

A Final Note of Wisdom

Research shows that ALL young people experience learning losses when they don’t engage in educational activities during the summer.

“It doesn’t have to be that way,” says Dr. Ken Gibson, author of Unlock the Einstein Inside: Applying New Brain Science to Wake Up the Smart in your Child ( “Think of it like this: The brain is like the body. If you exercise it, you improve it, but if you let it sit idle, it’s going to lose ability.”

To avoid the summer slide, Gibson recommends brain games and exercises that build cognitive skills, the underlying skills needed to learn.

And don’t assume that your kids will roll their eyes when you suggest ideas to keep their brain skills strong all summer. More than half of students surveyed say they want to be involved in a summer program that helps them keep up with schoolwork or prepare them for the next grade. Besides, unlike abdominal crunches, exercise for your brain is actually FUN!

Kristen Thompson is a parent, former teacher, and also the director at LearningRx Kennesaw, a center that specializes in helping learners of all ages and stages reach their full potential. LearningRx is located at 3420 Acworth Due West Road, Suite B, Kennesaw, GA 30144. 

Parents can request a free five-page Summer Slide Guide from LearningRx that includes dozens of brain-building games and exercises, as well as tips on how to incorporate brain building into daily activities. For the free Summer Slide Guide, simply call the Kennesaw LearningRx center at 770-529-4800 or the Atlanta-Buckhead LearningRx at 404-252-7246.



Filed under Academic Success, Art, Games, Music, Summer Learning

10 Ways to Fight the Summer Slide and Keep Skills Sharp, Part I

by Kristen Thompson

Comment on this post and be entered to win $25 to The School Box! 

Teachers routinely get a shock when they return to their classrooms in the fall and see the first test scores of their new students. The initial reaction is generally, “What in the world did they do last year?”

In reality, it’s not what they spent the previous year doing – it’s what they spent the summer not doing: exercising their brains. It’s a phenomenon so well known it’s often called “the summer slide.”

During the summer, kids lose an average 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in math computation skills and 25 percent of their reading skills. That explains why teachers usually spend four to six weeks re-teaching materials in the fall.

So what’s a parent to do?

In this article, we’ll share five ways to fight back against the summer slide. Later this week, we’ll share five more practical tips.

Five Easy Ideas: 

  1. Create a Brainy Toybox. Make a rainy day toybox so kids don’t end up watching TV all day. It can consist of age-appropriate puzzles, Playdoh, circle-the-word booklets, art supplies, craft ideas, board games, playing cards, etc.
  2. Print Brainteasers. Bookmark or print out brainteasers from sites like the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Sites like offer entertaining material on spelling, reading, math and grammar, and has classic strategy games.
  3. Stock the Seats with Car Games. Buy or create a book of games you can play in the car. Even a simple game like “20 Questions” can help improve a child’s logic and reasoning and memory. For more travel game ideas, check out
  4. Unplug. Limit television, computer and video game time. Invite your child’s friends over frequently to encourage creative play and interaction.
  5. Reward Reading. Have your child create a reward system for the number and level of books he/she reads over the summer. Hang a reward chart somewhere prominent, like on your child’s bedroom wall or the refrigerator, and let your child add a sticker every time they finish a book or chapter. After a certain number of stickers are earned, a tangible reward may be in order…maybe a new book??
Start with those five easy, fun ideas to help bridge the learning gap between May and August. We’ll share five more ideas in Part II of this series.

Kristen Thompson is a parent, former teacher, and also the director atLearningRx Kennesaw, a center that specializes in helping learners of all ages and stages reach their full potential. LearningRx is located at 3420 Acworth Due West Road, Suite B, Kennesaw, GA 30144. 


Filed under Academic Success, Home Schooling, Parenting, Reading, Summer Learning

Meaningful Memorial Day Ideas

by Rachel Stepp

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Memorial Day holiday is coming up quickly as the summer begins! Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for all United States military members who have served and given their lives. It is an important holiday to remember and learn about.

Here are a few ideas to teach your children and to help make your Memorial Day memorable:

Learn the Basics

Teach your children the basics about Memorial Day. Did you know that the holiday was originally called Decoration Day? The first Memorial Day holiday was celebrated in 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson declared it a holiday.

Visit a Memorial

Visit your local military cemetery to commemorate those who have fought for our country. You can look up cemeteries near your house and place flags, flowers, and cards at grave sites. The following website can help you find a cemetery near or in your town:

Create a Flag

Search for a flag image, such as this one in black and white. Print the image and then use materials found around the house to decorate it in red, white, and blue. For example, you can use tissue paper that is torn into little pieces and glued onto the flag. Also, you can tear out small pieces of paper that would fit within the lines from magazines. By using magazine and newspaper clips, you can create a collage flag with varying shades of red, white, and blue. You could also use water color paint and enjoy the sunshine while painting the flag. When you are down with the flags, display them in your windows.

Visit a local Memorial Day Parade

Take your children to your community’s parade so that they can experience the impact of the holiday on the community’s citizens. Your children will feel involved and enjoy participating. They can even take their homemade flags to wave!

However you choose to celebrate the holiday, it is important to remember its importance. Plus, it’s the traditional marker of the beginning of summer!

 Rachel Stepp is a graduate student at The University of Georgia who regularly contributes creative ideas to A Learning Experience.


Filed under Activities, Holidays

$20 gift card winner!

Our $20 gift card winner (randomly selected from among recent comments on our posts) is Christy Willis from

She commented on “DIY Scratch-Off Card {love this!}”


I absolutely LOVE this! I have been on a mad hunt to find out how to create scratch-offs without using the ” heavy on the crayon” method. Thank you for posting this…you’re a doll!

You can see all comments on this post here:

Well Christy, we think you’re a doll! Someone from The School Box will be in touch shortly to ascertain your mailing address. And, if you don’t have a School Box near you (tragic!), you can order online here:

Happy commenting!

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Filed under Free Stuff!