Grandparents Teach, too: Find teachable moments this summer

Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. (Courtesy photo)

Adults don’t need to be trained teachers to help their children practice skills during the summer. That practice is very important so skills are expanded or not weakened. Families can use 10 or more minutes of teachable moments every day to teach any subject.

While taking a walk, talk about science. Children are naturally curious, interested collectors. Think of the science units they had during the year — plants, animals, rocks and minerals, physical science like making and using machines, weather and chemistry.

You can collect together and young children can sort by different characteristics, make rubbings, paint or glue on papers to make collages. Google images can be used to identify insects, trees, wild flowers, birds and rocks.

Earn Computer Time

There can be a few minutes for daily math facts practice. Math is more than memorizing facts, but if addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts are over learned and can be spouted off quickly, kids save homework time. They can use strategies to do more math in their heads. Include measuring things and counting money.

You can make up some math problem sheets and pay kids money for correct answers. Ask them facts in the car at stop lights. How many will they know in the time it takes for the light to change? You can give them little jobs like picking pesky tree sprouts in flower beds or some other job where they get pennies or other coins to count.

Following a recipe is a good way to practice measuring, fractions, setting or watching time on the stove. Kids can cut food with a table knife, count the pieces and divide them up evenly.

Make a rule. If they want to play a game on the computer, they must earn the time through reading and doing math.

Reading Daily

Reading is imperative every day. There is no other way to say it. Try for 30 minutes. If you have a reluctant reader, break up the time into two sessions. Teachers often send home recommended reading lists. Children’s librarians are happy to recommend book series. Take turns reading and set goals. Students who have difficulty tire easily because they are working so hard. Remember not all words can be sounded out. If they are having trouble, tell them the word. Ask them what their teacher would tell them to try to figure out words. Talk about the subjects and pictures.

Take time to write letters to relatives. Keep journals and drawings while traveling. You can help kids take pictures with your phone and send attached messages with complete short sentences, words and correct spelling.

Stop at museums, view historical points and encourage kids to follow Google maps while traveling.

For more see and Through the Seasons.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Grandparents Teach, Too is a non-profit organization of elementary and preschool teachers from Marquette, Michigan. The writers include: Jan Sabin, Mary Davis, Jean Hetrick, Cheryl Anderegg, Esther Macalady, Colleen Walker, Fran Darling, and Iris Katers. Their mission since 2009 is to help parents, grandparents, and other caregivers of young children provide fun activities to help prepare young children for school and a life long love of learning. They are supported by Great Start, Parent Awareness of Michigan, the U.P. Association for the Education of Young Children, Northern Michigan School of Education, the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum and the Northern Michigan University Center for Economic Education.