Important websites and contact information

*Squidoo page that lists Gwinnett Homeschool classes and activies at a glance *
~Gwinnett County Public Schools Homeschool Page
~HDSLA.ORG
~Heir.org
~Ghea.org
~To have your information added, email ahermitt(at)gmail.com and put GWINNETT HOMESCHOOL in the email title.

Not all slides are good for kids



Some of my earliest memories as a child are of us sliding down the sliding board in our back yard. There were four of us kids,  three brothers and myself. Not sure how, but my parents arranged for us to have the coolest back yards ever. The first yard I remember was when I was only a toddler. We had an apple tree that had to be 10 million feet high, a swing set, a fence that our dog would climb to get out, the sliding board that when you stood on top you could see the roof to the house, and a fort that was so tall it took us up to heaven. My dad was an engineer and perfectionist. He built that fort, and it was big. 


In reality, I was only two or three so my memories are pretty foggy, but I remember that when on top of the slide or fort, we could see forever. The trees may have blocked the view at little bit, but I saw
everything that was important. The most amazing thing happened while I was on the fort. I discovered my dad was a giant. Did you know he could reach up to the top of that fort and crab any one of us by the ankle at anytime he wanted to?
The slide, however, had to be my favorite. It was one of those slides made of metal, and it would burn your bottom in the summer time from sitting in the sun (sadly, even that huge apple tree could not protect it from the North Carolina summer heat). It was so much fun to climb up there and stand, till mama caught us, and look around. It didn’t hurt that it would annoy my brothers to have to wait on me either. 
One Easter we got a baby duck. We would take that poor duck and slide it down the sliding board. That was more fun then sliding down yourself. Don’t remember if the duck liked it or not, but we sure thought it was funny. Now before any of you animal lovers get upset, it was the sixties, we were just little kids, and it was fun. The duck used to ride around in our little fire truck too. We really loved that duck.
Oh, the memories. We really did have a good time. As much fun as our slide was, there are slides that are not good for your kids.
The "summer slide" is one that is very detrimental. What in the world is a "summer slide", you may be asking yourself. Over summer vacation, according to John Hopkins University, kids loose 2.6 months of the math skills they learned the previous school year. Teachers spend the first few weeks refreshing the memories and reminding kids how to do what they learned only a few months ago.
What are parents to do? How can we prevent this form happening? Well, there are several things you can do. Here’s a few activities you can do over the summer to prevent your child from falling victim to the "summer slide."
                             Tip #1 ~ Have a game night. Maybe Friday Night. Get a deck of
                                          cards, a board game or two, turn off the TV,  
                                          and have some fun. There are all kinds of age  
                                          appropriate games you can play to encourage math    
                                          skills. Remember, the point is to make it fun, enjoy the  
                                          family, and use those brains. (see below for  
                                          resources) 
                             Tip #2 ~ While traveling play "who can stump mom?" (with my  
                                          kids it was fairly easy, but stumping daddy was a
                                          different thing altogether). Make up work equations for  
                                          your younger kids, like "I see three cows in the field.  
                                          There are also six horses. How many animals are in the
                                          field?" Give the older kids a chance to shine by letting 
                                          them stump you. Allow them to ask you the math
                                          word problems. The possibilities are endless. All  
                                          it takes is a little imagination.
                             Tip #3 ~ Cook together using new recipes. Cooking is a great  
                                          way to "secretly" use math. Mix things up and
                                          double the recipes if you have a large family or cut it in
                                          half if there are only the two of you. Each week travel  
                                          the world and try new recipes from different cultures.
                                          When you involve the kids in the process they take  
                                          ownership and are interested to try new things. What a  
                                          great accidental life skill to learn.
                  
                             Tip #4 ~  Book stores are full of workbooks you can use to help  
                                           your kids retain math skills. My favorite store for this is
                                           the School Box in Atlanta, Ga. and Tenn. There are  
                                           more books on math there then anywhere I have ever  
                                           seen. The books are age and grade appropriate.
                                           Several different companies have books that will work.
                                           My favorite series is the Summer Bridge Activities  
                                           http://bit.ly/Kkji9A. ( I used to work at the School Box 
                                         and it is, by far, my favorite store for educational                                        products. Both parents and teachers shop there. It’s  
                                           a wonderful and the best place on the planet for 
                                           Christmas gifts too.) No School Box near you, don’t
                                           worry, they’re online http://www.schoolbox.com.
                                           You can also go online to find plenty of activities to
                                            keep your kids engaged. 
                                          
                              Tip #5 ~ Enroll your child in a summer tutoring program or
                                           summer camp. There are all kinds of programs.
                                           The important thing is to keep math and the skills
                                           your child already has current and fresh. Mathnasium
                                           has a great program plus they are open all summer to
                                           keep your child focused. Again, I speak from personal
                                           experience.  My oldest daughter is the Center Director
                                           at the Mathnasium near us, and my youngest daughter
                                           is a Mathlete (student) there as well. You can read all
                                           about her adventures and how much she has prospered
                                           while at Mathnasium in my post "Making Math Make
                                           Sense." You can find  Mathnasium all over the country
                                           and also online http://www.mathnasium.com.
So there you go, five ways you can help save your child from the "summer slide."  Math doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. Spend a little bit of time each day and encourage the use of math skills. The goal is to have your child returning to school knowing what he knew (maybe even more) before he went on summer break. Hey, who knows, the teacher may even thank you.  


 ~ Please feel free to submit any activities that homeschoolers might enjoy. To do so, you can email Ahermitt@gmail.com with headline Homeschool Gwinnett. ~ For most recently added activities, go here.

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