When my now 8-year-old finished kindergarten, the teacher sent home a packet of worksheets to keep him learning over the summer. Armed with pages of reading and math problems (and the knowledge that kids can regress during the summer months), I was determined to have him work consistently, all summer long.
Every day, I said.
Then…well, every week, at least.
Ok, ok, a few times a month should suffice.
Suddenly it was mid-August, and I was scrambling to find those pesky worksheets…
In reality, he probably completed about three that summer. The next summer wasn’t any better.
So this year, as he prepares to enter third grade, I changed my strategy. The worksheets weren’t working for us. But there are more ways to keep him learning.
I decided that keeping him reading over the summer was the main goal — and summer was a good time to tackle a more challenging book. When he mentioned he’d like to watch the first Harry Potter movie, it struck me like — wait for it — a bolt of lightning. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
I told him we could watch the movie, but only after we read the book, together.
Here’s where I have a confession: I have never read Harry Potter. I’ve seen all the movies (my stepdaughter is a HUGE fan). But I, an avid reader, a writer by profession, and an aspiring author, have never read any of the books.
But I read recently that a great book finds you when it’s meant to. That is definitely true for me now. Jack and I are totally engrossed in this novel — we’re over halfway through, and we’re enjoying discussing Harry and all of his new friends, traveling along on their adventures, and speculating what might happen next. I am so loving that we are getting to experience this together.
It’s something we both look forward to each night. Last night I went to book club, and I had a wonderful time as usual, but…I found myself a little bummed that I was missing that night’s HP chapter. (And when I got home, I was glad when my husband told me that Jack had read only a few pages without me.)
Clearly, giving him Hogwarts-related summer reading homework was the right call.
Don’t get me wrong — worksheets have their place, and perhaps we’ll use them again in the future. Thus far (and I’m knocking on wood here), he’s had no problems academically; if that ever changes, we’ll definitely explore other tools. And we’ll still have him work on math from time to time this summer — he loves to play math games on a great educational website.
But for now, I’m thrilled to watch my son become enchanted by this wonderful world of wizardry — and grateful to be along for the journey.