Summer Bridge Activities
It's summer school in a book! Each book is a "bridge" between grades, helping children retain what they learned the grade level before, and prepare for the grade level ahead. If you take a prolonged break from school in the summer, you've probably already discovered that about 80% of what they've learned toward the end of the year is lost within a month, unless that knowledge is reinforced in some way. Of course, many homeschooling parents are already in the habit of educating without ceasing, and that's what this publisher strives to promote. An introduction in the front of every book tries to convince every parent to act like a typical homeschooling parent! Suggestions are given for promoting a learning environment in the home and while you enjoy outside activities during the summer. One of the recommendations is to have your child read daily for a minimum amount of time depending on grade level. To that end, a generous Book List is supplied. Lists are unique and age-appropriate in each book. The list in the grade 4-5 book looks really good - a mix of classic children's fiction and nonfiction including Newbery Medal Winners, books on Sacajawea, science-themed books, Beverly Cleary books, poetry collections, and more. The activity section of the book is divided into three 20-day parts, each more challenging. A Monthly Goals list at the beginning of each and places for stickers at the end of each day's work helps keep record of assignments done. A word list for the section follows, and features words to be looked up and used in a sentence. Each 20-day section begins with an introduction to a positive attribute that can be reflected in both the child's "fitness" and their "character" (such as flexibility or strength).
Now, to the "meat" - the activities themselves. For each day there are four sections of activities contained on two pages. They begin with arithmetic, then language skills. The last two sections vary in content but include any two of: phonetic/spelling reinforcement, reading skills, vocabulary work, dictionary/reference skills, science, social studies, more extensive writing, and/or thinking skills. Every so often, a quick suggestion to build fitness or character is provided at the end of a day's lesson. Social studies and science related activities are included in a "Bonus" section, and these often involve map work or simple experiments. Outdoor extension activities are also included at the end of each section. The scope and content of the activities is remarkable - even hands-on activities are included. I can see how this would keep a child "sharp" during an extended break from regular schoolwork - summer or not. We've had customers in all sorts of unusual predicaments - with illnesses, pregnancy complications, taking care of an ill parent, etc. - that could have used a book like this. Since these books were meant to be used by children working on their own, they would be a great backup when you haven't even got time to plan lessons - just to keep skills sharp until you can get back on track.
At the very end of each book is a Certificate of Completion, a complete answer key, a sheet of star stickers, and several pages of cardstock flashcards to cut out. Grade levels of books represent grade completed and next grade level. If your child has completed third grade and will begin fourth after break, choose the Grade 3-4 book. 150 perforated pages, plus flashcards.