The long months of summer can offer the perfect opportunity for families to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy school year to start taking steps to create a higher expectations culture at home. By starting this culture in the home, families can help ensure their student progresses on the path to graduating high school ready to succeed in a postsecondary program and enjoy a bright future. While this summer may bring pool parties, barbeques and sunshine, don’t let your child’s learning take a detour.

Creating a high expectations culture at home is one of the most important commitments parents and families can make to their student’s future, and it starts with making education a family priority—ahead of sports, entertainment and work. Talking early and often about academic goals makes all the difference in your student’s success.

“Summer break is a wonderful time to create teachable moments that will help your child grow and learn,” Pearl Chang Esau, President and CEO of Expect More Arizona says. “Whether you are visiting a museum, doing a science experiment or just talking about the upcoming school year, you have an opportunity to set your child’s sights on learning success at all levels.”

Our website has ways to help parents and families access valuable tools to create a high expectations culture for their student, such as grade-by-grade milestones that help track if your student is meeting the benchmark skills for their age and grade and our interactive College & Career Planning Guide. We encourage families to use this summer to start conversations and explore experiences that will help your student discover potential career opportunities and the postsecondary education that would be required.

“The path to educational excellence demands great teachers, motivated students, engaged parents, committed leaders and supportive communities – all working together to encourage academic achievement and, ultimately, students’ readiness for college,” Esau says of creating a college-going culture.

Helping parents and families stay engaged in their child’s education, and keeping their children learning over the summer months, we compiled some summer fun activities to keep kids of all ages learning and to avoid the summer brain drain:

To reinforce language arts skills:

  • Ask your child to create a summer reading list
  • Select one book to read out loud as a family
  • Create a reading fort or corner that is a designated reading spot 

To keep science skills and interest:

  • Create a backyard volcano
  • Plant a garden that can be tended
  • Learn a constellation
  • Collect and sort interesting rocks
  • Track the weather
  • Do a science experiment

To practice math:

  • Watch a baseball game and track the statistics
  • Heat up the kitchen with math in cooking/baking
  • Go shopping to mix and match different prices and discounts
  • Calculate time and mileage

To reinforce social studies skills and learning:

  • Research your family genealogy
  • Host a geography bee for your child and their friends
  • Explore each day in history to discover historic events

To keep arts and creativity flowing:

  • Host a neighborhood clothesline art show
  • Encourage your child to take photos and build a summer collage
  • Attend an arts performance and create your own performance at home
  • Build a mural of natural materials from summer trips, park visits and the backyard

Make your road trip educational:

  • Play a “What Would You Do” game to get your child thinking
  • Write a travel journal
  • Explore a museum in depth
  • List the license plates seen and research that state

Do you have any ideas to add? We’d love to see them in the comments below!