Make ‘Em Work. It Really Is Good For Them.

As I understand it, summer break from schools originally came about because we were — at the time — a mostly agrarian society. That is, lots of folks lived out in the country, on the farms, and kid were needed to work the fields during the growing and planting seasons.

Hence, the three or so months off during the summer. It’s become institutionalized and now most parents couldn’t conceive of a summer that didn’t include kids home out of school.

The thing of it is, we couldn’t have designed a better skill-destroying, demotivational tool had we been trying. Seriously.

For most kids, the summer consists of sleeping as long as possible, doing as little as possible and thinking as few times as possible. All of which makes for a serious degredation of all the skills and knowledge picked up with all that hard work during the school year. And, to top it off, teachers must waste time at the beginning of the school year to reteach stuff that students learned the year before.

Which is why I come to you dudes with a novel suggestion. Why not put aside an hour or so a day, or however long you can afford, and have your little dude or dudette sit down and do some age-appropriate, grade-appropriate math problems? The best time to start this is now, when the school year is fresh in their minds and they’re still used to doing work that breaks them out in a mental sweat.

I know most parents break out in the mental sweats and shakes when contemplating math problems, but I’ve got an easy answer for you here and it doesn’t involve you having to create hard math problems all by your ownself.

That’s what Google is for. A quick surf through the search engine and I found many, many sites that offer a whole mess of free math worksheets that you can download, print and use, or even sites that offer on-line, immediate response math worksheets on the computer. If they’re not completely free, most of them offer a 30-day free trial offer.

There’s a reason that websites offer this 30 days free. They hope you’ll sign up for the paid subscription at the end. There’s nothing wrong at all with signing up, using the service for 30 days and then moving on to a different site at the end of the trial period. For instance, Adapted Mind is a math learning site that offers such a trial offer. It definitely looks like a good place to start.

For instance, I found a site called School Express and, truly, I love this place. Not only are there free worksheets on subjects from etiquette to math for grades 1-9 that you can download already made, but the site also offers you the chance to create your own worksheets. I went ahead and made a word search. I simply typed in nine or so words off the top of my head, hit submit and — violá — there it was. Ready to be printed and used.

School Express offers 17,000 free worksheets. Subjects include reading, science, critical thinking, kindness to animals (I dunno. It’s there.), social studies, sudoku and more. Definitely worth checking out.

Math Mammoth also offers something upwards of 300 free worksheets. You’ll need to give the site your e-mail address, confirm that it’s yours and then you’ll get a massive download of free worksheets all in one go. There’s some more stuff on the site, but the free load of worksheets is, I think, the important thing.

There you go, dudes. It took me all of two minutes to find all this stuff.

It’s a great idea. I honestly think it’s something that each child needs to do over the summer. Keeping their brains limber and used to work can’t be anything but good for the little dudes and dudettes.

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