How to Slow the SUMMER SLIDE: Five Simple Suggestions

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SUMMER SLIDE is a phrase used to describe the slide backwards that many children make in reading and math skills over the summer break. 

When I was a classroom teacher, the SUMMER SLIDE was to be expected. And reviewing for several weeks in the fall in order to combat the SUMMER SLIDE was also to be expected. It’s common practice for classroom teachers to build in several weeks of review at the start of each new school year. Unfortunately, it is impossible to target each kid’s specific “slide issues” so, instead, entire classes receive the same review.  Sally might’ve slid back twelve steps in math and three steps in reading while Billy slid back two steps in math and twenty steps in reading. But both Billy and Sally {plus their twenty classmates} would have to sit through the same review lessons. 

But, one of the many benefits of homeschooling is that we don’t release our students into the wild summer with nothing but a library card and our sincere hopes that they’ll do more than just watch TV, play video games and sleep late. We actually get to shape their schedules and continue to place expectations on their education. 

But, unless our kids have no break in their school routines at all and you continue homeschooling in summer, our kids are still prone to the SUMMER SLIDE

So, how can we avoid the SUMMER SLIDE? Or at least, slow it down?

How to Slow the SUMMER SLIDE: Five Simple Suggestions

We need to be purposeful in our plans! But, don’t worry! You don’t need to enforce a full-on Summer Boot Camp at home. Your kids need a break and SO DO YOU! But, with some simple advanced planning, a little clever thinking and some simple summer routines , you can definitely slow the SUMMER SLIDE!

Below are five simple suggestions for slowing the SUMMER SLIDE.

{Note: The links are pink! Just think, “pink link” if you are wanting to follow a link to something.}



Doing a UNIT STUDY is one of our favorite educational activities to do over the summer because we get to learn about all sorts of subjects, people and events that we didn’t have time for during the regular school year. The variety of UNIT STUDIES that is available is endless and fairly inexpensive {if not totally FREE.} Plus, they are easy to add to/subtract from as fits your family’s needs and schedule. You can read all about the fun benefits of UNIT STUDIES here: How and Why to Teach with Unit Studies.  

But be warned! Once you decide that UNIT STUDIES are an amazing way to keep the learning moving forward over the summer, you might get overwhelmed with deciding what to study. Like I said, the topics are endless! One approach is to go with current events like Sharks or The Summer Olympics. Here are ten Summer-Themed Unit Studies to check out! Another option is to focus on those {annoying} things your kids tend to talk non-stop about but you don’t usually want to partake in,  like Frozen or Minecraft. Or you can take a favorite read-aloud and turn it into a full experience with these American Girl Unit Studies or the Ultimate Treasure Island Unit Study.  But, no matter which UNIT STUDY {or twelve!!!} you choose, your kids will surely benefit from the variety of learning opportunities involved! 

And, if you decide that you love, love, love teaching with UNIT STUDIES, you can grab this free Unit Study Template to help organize and plan your own UNIT STUDIES. It’s a very basic template but should give you a good start to planning your very own UNIT STUDY. GRAB THE FREE PRINTABLE HERE!


In order to keep school at least a wee bit fun during the school year, we try to play at least one EDUCATIONAL GAME per week but, sadly, it is often the first thing that gets cut when we are running short of time. But, summer is the perfect time to be diligent about playing EDUCATIONAL GAMES! Whether you want to review math, science, spelling or history, there are loads of EDUCATIONAL GAMES that are not only fun, but also serve as a very purposeful review. 

Some of our favorites include Four Way Countdown {which covers all four mathematical operations so it’s perfect for nearly all ages/skill levels,} Game of the States {geography and commerce,} Wordical {spelling} and Totally Gross {science.} For a brief breakdown of the many benefits of EDUCATIONAL GAMES along with detailed reviews on several games, check out How and Why to Use Educational Games in Your Homeschool

And you don’t even have to fill your Amazon cart with new EDUCATIONAL GAMES! There are several ways to turn games you {probably} have cluttering your hall closet right now into a fun new way to act as an educational review. With just a few minutes of your time, you can turn a classic board game into an amazing EDUCATIONAL GAME. Check out this post for ideas on How to Use Classic Board Games as a Fun Way to Do School ReviewThere is also a FREE Blank Game Cards and Tiles Pack so you can easily and instantly turn your classic board game into a fun, new review game! GRAB THE FREE PRINTABLE HERE!

Whether Amazon delivers something new or you get crafty with the old, your kids will totally love playing some EDUCATIONAL GAMES this summer and you’ll love the educational benefit! 


We’ve done this off and on for years and not only is it a fun way for my son to practice his least favorite subject, writing, it also provides us with a wonderful keepsake. You can make this super simple with a plain spiral notebook or much more elaborate with a fancy personalized journal. Either way, the concept is to have your child write to you about whatever he/she wants and then to for you to write back. This way, your kid is not only reading AND writing, he/she is doing it on a very personal level. And, as we know, the more personalized we can make the lesson, the more educational value will be found in it.

My son, who is now 14 and detests writing, truly loves when we do a BACK & FORTH JOURNAL. He especially loves asking me questions because I take the time to answer him with care and honesty {which, is not always the case when we’re in the middle of doing school, running errands or whatever.} And I love the fact that I have a precious journal to keep for the future. Plus, I seem to be able to show more interest in things like Minecraft, dragons and baseball through writing than I do in person. I also tend to sneak in “schooly” questions like, “what was the coolest thing you learned in science this year?” And, I always write in cursive because it gives him more practice at reading my fancy script! Another idea is to use these summer drawing prompts. Instead of writing back and forth, you can take turns adding to a scene!

A BACK & FORTH JOURNAL really is the perfect way to keep your kid reading and writing over the summer!


Chances are, you already have a hearty stash of handy RANDOM RESOURCES at your fingertips!

Library: Sign your kids up for the summer reading program at the library. Or, finally, look into their digital resources that you bookmarked in your web browser months ago but have yet to use. My library offers access to free foreign language lessons that I plan on using this summer! 

Digital: Do a deep dive into Netflix or Disney+ in search of a new-to-you science series. Break out that set of educational DVDs you picked up at Costco months ago. Sign up for a super fun multi-sensory way to cement those stubborn math facts online with Drill Team! There is even a seven-day Free Trial with NO CREDIT CARD NEEDED!

Mail: Sign your kids up for an old-fashioned magazine subscription like ZooBooks or Ranger Rick. Or, instead, go modern and check out one of the many cool subscription boxes that are so popular these days.  You can read about nine different subscription boxes in this review, Best Educational Subscription Boxes Your Kids Will Love

Pinterest: Revisit your Pinterest Boards and do some of those fun hands-on activities you pinned long ago but never got to. 

Your Desktop or Email Box: Are you guilty, like me, of grabbing a free printable or buying a super-priced bundle and then not using it? Do a little dive into what you have “and “on-hand,” print some goodies out and make good use of those goodies!

There are so many ideas that I wish we could do but save “for when we have more time”. Well, summer is the perfect time to dig into that stash of RANDOM RESOURCES


This is an idea that I came by accidentally but have used every year since I discovered it. As the school year winds down, I always go through all our son’s work so I can finalize grades and organize things for storage. Inevitably, I discover LEFTOVER CURRICULUM amidst his finished work. It might be additional practice pages in the rear of his textbooks, alternate test versions in the teacher’s manual or fun/trivial items that I purposely had him skip in the interest of time. All these items make great review pages during the summer months. 

And because they tie in perfectly to what was just learned during the school year, they are the furthest thing from busy work. They are purposeful pieces redesigned to serve as a review. 


How to Slow the SUMMER SLIDE: Five Simple Suggestions

How to Slow the SUMMER SLIDE: Five Simple Suggestions


    1. While my child is younger and more in the “learning through play” stage, we are planning on homeschooling when the time comes. This is a helpful reminder to factor in the “summer slide”… something I had completely forgotten about as it’s been quite a while since I’ve been in grade school! 🙂

      I love the idea of a back and forth journal. That’s a new idea for me and something I would love to implement in the future! Do you ever use prompts for that, or do you just write about what comes to mind/arises out of the context of your daily life?

      1. For the back-and-forth journal, I don’t use prompts because we ask a lot of questions of one another so the flow just keeps going. And, it’s easy to direct or redirect the focus by asking a new series of questions.

        But, when kids are learning to write, I would suggest prompts. I used to teach First Grade and my students almost always preferred prompts…the stress of coming up with a topic was too much for many. 😉 But, some preferred to do their own thing.

        Enjoy this phase of playing, Bethany! And let me know if you need any help when it’s time to homeschool. Blessings!

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