As summer approaches, Caitlin and Jenny discuss tips for avoiding the summer slide for kids, including creating a routine, exploring the community, setting goals, making activities social, and using technology wisely.
From this episode, you'll be able to:
Building up endurance for activities you want your kids to practice is key over the summer. - Jenny GK
About CK & GK
Caitlin K. and Jenny GK are experienced educators and parents who are passionate about helping children thrive academically. They recognize the importance of addressing summer learning loss and offer practical strategies to keep kids engaged and on track during the break. CK and GK share their insights on creating routines, discovering community resources, and effectively utilizing technology to support children's learning. With a blend of expertise and personal experience, Caitlin and Jenny provide parents with the tools they need to ensure their children continue to grow and succeed through the summer months.
Get more info about avoiding the summer slide in this week's blog post, here.
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CK & GK
View our website at ckandgkpodcast.com or our LinkTree. Find us on social media @ckandgkpodcast on
00:00:01 - Jenny GK
It's Tuesday, Tuesday, Tuesday.
00:00:06 - Caitlin Kindred
I'm still hearing you sing Tuesday. Oh, my goodness. It's Tuesday. We're so glad you're here. Maybe it's not Tuesday. Either way, we're so glad you're here. Thanks for joining us today. We are talking about ways to avoid the summer slide for your kids. So if you're a parent, this is going to be super helpful for you as you go about preparing yourself for summer. Because I assure you, your kid and your kid's teachers are ready. You're not, but they are, right? Exactly. Now I'm on the other side of that game and I am not liking it as much. It is not as fun. No, it is not. Oh, goodness.
00:00:51 - Jenny GK
I have to say, I have had such a great school year this year. I don't even have, like, a countdown. Someone asked me how many days left in the school year and I had to think about it. And my sister, of course, she was like 15.5.
00:01:03 - Caitlin Kindred
Right. And two class periods. Yeah, there's that whole thing of, like, it's May. So basically, like, after Easter, you pretty much start your countdown, right? And then it's you just walking down the hallway, seeing a teacher that you only occasionally see, and they're like, hey, how are you? And you're like 61, right? 23. You're just saying numbers as you go by and you're like, silently fist bumping. Like, yes, we can do it. We get there.
00:01:35 - Jenny GK
I've had such a phenomenal year this year that hasn't even hit my radar.
00:01:42 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, I was going to say, I'm sure that there are lots of other teachers who do not feel the same way.
00:01:46 - Jenny GK
No, this is the first year, even in all of the other schools, which I've been extremely happy and had a fantastic team and taught with people like Caitlin. Still, there's always a countdown this year.
00:02:01 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, no. Always a countdown.
00:02:02 - Jenny GK
It's so cool. It's so different. Okay, so speaking of Caitlin, for this episode, we're going to call her Bunker because she's hilarious.
00:02:12 - Caitlin Kindred
Ease and rice. It's so cheesy. Well, that's Jenny. She's. Oh, my God. These compliments from Leslie. Nope, I can't. But these are so ridiculous. You, Jenny, are a beautiful, naive, sophisticated newborn baby. They're so ridiculous.
00:02:38 - Jenny GK
All that makes me think about is talladega knights when he's like, I like, praying to the baby Jesus. Sweet little eight pounds, six ounce baby Jesus.
00:02:48 - Caitlin Kindred
After the after the father in law tells him he was a man, he had a beard, and then he intentionally digs the knife about how he was going to pray to a baby.
00:02:57 - Jenny GK
00:02:58 - Caitlin Kindred
I like the baby Jesus best. Yeah. Oh, goodness. Can you tell? It's been a little while since you recorded my voice. Sounds like I have, like, Phoebe and the sex voice right now. I was so sick last weekend, guys. I could not record. We get on and I was like, you should know, Jenny, I'm not well. I'm really not well. I lost my voice the other day, and she's like, okay, well, let's try it. And I was like, yeah.
00:03:33 - Jenny GK
She says two words and I'm like, that's not going to work, right?
00:03:36 - Caitlin Kindred
She goes. Okay. No. And then she was like, I'll see you later. We both just were like, let's try for another day. And she's like, okay, bye. Just go try. Yeah. I laid in bed for like half of that day. I couldn't do it.
00:03:52 - Jenny GK
You need that throat spray. Do you remember that? That Ludins or whatever? Did you ever have to do that?
00:03:58 - Caitlin Kindred
I hated that.
00:03:59 - Jenny GK
I hated that stuff too. My mom be like, you need that throat spray.
00:04:02 - Caitlin Kindred
00:04:02 - Jenny GK
And she was like, spray.
00:04:04 - Caitlin Kindred
So my favorite are the Racola original Y'all.
00:04:09 - Jenny GK
She is Vanna Whiting this product to me right now.
00:04:11 - Caitlin Kindred
She's like, literally they could be my.
00:04:14 - Jenny GK
Like, displaying it with her hand.
00:04:15 - Caitlin Kindred
They could be my obsession, honestly. And one of my girlfriends no, I'm.
00:04:19 - Jenny GK
Sorry, I'm stopping that right there. There is no time in your life where a cough drop can be your obsession. I'm sorry. It has nothing to do with age or sickness. There are other things in your life for you to celebrate beyond cough drops.
00:04:32 - Caitlin Kindred
As she coughs, one of my girlfriends goes, if you eat too many of those, you might have some tummy troubles that make you have to run to the bathroom. And I was like, what? Why? I think it's because they probably are sweetened with, like, Xylitol, which can make you have to go to the bathroom if that's what they have in those hairbo gummy bears that are sugar free. So you have to be real careful with these cough drops.
00:04:55 - Jenny GK
So that happened to Abby and I. We ate something with artificial sweetener in it. It was like, Erythritol, I think is the name of it.
00:05:01 - Caitlin Kindred
00:05:03 - Jenny GK
And we were so thankful that where we were there were two separate bathrooms.
00:05:07 - Caitlin Kindred
00:05:08 - Jenny GK
Because we both bolted and then came back like 45 minutes later. She was like, did it happen to you too?
00:05:20 - Caitlin Kindred
Anyway, moving on, let's talk about other things, other obsessions, not cough drops. What are you obsessed with right now?
00:05:28 - Jenny GK
Okay, so for real? For real. I am obsessed with Stanley Cup hockey. You know this about me. You know that I do not watch hockey all season long. I do not have a hockey team, right? But I love the Stanley Cup playoffs. I'm obsessed.
00:05:43 - Caitlin Kindred
And which team are you obsessed with right now?
00:05:45 - Jenny GK
This year, much like last year, we've picked the Edmonton Oilers to win it all. Last year, they disappointed us in the second round. This year, it looks like they might do it again.
00:05:57 - Caitlin Kindred
This year, though, they've lasted longer than the Avalanche, who beat them last.
00:06:01 - Jenny GK
True. The Avalanche lost in the first round.
00:06:06 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, it was not no, I mean, listen, I don't follow hockey, but I do like the Avalanche because that's where I right yeah, exactly. But okay, so you're obsessed with that. Are you staying up late to watch games?
00:06:18 - Jenny GK
Because there were a couple of games that were way past my bedtime and because I identify as Gen X, or maybe I'm one of these Zenials you've heard of this? It's like Gen X millennial.
00:06:30 - Caitlin Kindred
It's like a three or four year group. We're both in it. We would both technically count as that.
00:06:35 - Jenny GK
So I do not define my generation as my birth date because so much of my pivotal growing up years were spent on an Air Force base, which is like a different timeline.
00:06:46 - Caitlin Kindred
Right. It's like easily ten or 15 years. That's why you grew up watching Mash, because none of the people our age actually did grow up watching Mash.
00:06:59 - Jenny GK
You and I both taught these kids that they grew up in Australia and then they moved to the US in middle school, and all of their pop culture references are somewhere between five and seven years behind. That's how I feel. Right?
00:07:11 - Caitlin Kindred
Because it's you designing women. Okay. No, that's it.
00:07:17 - Jenny GK
And John just today, he was like, hey, do you want to go see The Offspring? And I was like, I don't know. He's like, everyone from our childhood loves The Offspring. Why didn't you want to go?
00:07:26 - Caitlin Kindred
They were a love it or hate it band. I was very much like, this man needs to tell up screaming into the microphone, this is not music. You know, it's kind of hard just tech. It's like, Shut up, man, you're so obnoxious.
00:07:38 - Jenny GK
Anyway, back to me being old.
00:07:41 - Caitlin Kindred
00:07:41 - Jenny GK
I have been drinking Red Bull at 05:00 in the afternoon so that I can watch these hockey games, which means I'm awake at one or two.
00:07:51 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, no, that's not worth it to me.
00:07:52 - Jenny GK
I need to adjust my timeline and drink the Red Bull at, like, one. Right. So I can stay up till ten and then go to sleep. But I want to stay relevant, and I don't want this episode to sound so dated. But tonight's game is at nine Central, and I'm like, what is that? This is an hour of hockey with 40 minutes of intermission, and that has no time out.
00:08:16 - Caitlin Kindred
No. There have been a few situations where Bryce has stayed up to watch Colorado Buffalo football when they play in Hawaii, and I'm like, that's 5 hours ish time difference. And that means that the game's not starting until, like, 1030. No, I'm not doing it. Not doing it.
00:08:34 - Jenny GK
I get that there's people who live on the West Coast, but do they care about hockey?
00:08:38 - Caitlin Kindred
Maybe they might.
00:08:40 - Jenny GK
They might. They might.
00:08:41 - Caitlin Kindred
The San Jose sharks are out there.
00:08:43 - Jenny GK
Yeah, no, but Cheese Louise 09:00.
00:08:47 - Caitlin Kindred
It just makes me go. I could never live on the East Coast. Like, I could never be a New Yorker because everything is so much later there. Yeah. I'm like, no, I'm too old for that. Well, once again, I have like a trivial, stupid obsession.
00:09:00 - Jenny GK
That was me a couple of weeks ago. It's totally fine.
00:09:02 - Caitlin Kindred
It's me. Like, pretty much.
00:09:03 - Jenny GK
I was obsessed with the salad a few weeks ago.
00:09:06 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes, you were. I do remember. So the ads on Instagram are that algorithm knows me way too well and they just get more and more targeted. Being in marketing, I get mad when I click on one. I don't want to skew someone's numbers, but the other part of me is like, darn it, it worked on me. Like er. So I've been seeing this ad for a particular brand of mascara for the past, I don't know, six months and I finally caved. Is it?
00:09:38 - Jenny GK
That Lash princess. Because I bought that off instagram.
00:09:42 - Caitlin Kindred
It is not Lash princess. It is Thrive Cosmetics.
00:09:46 - Jenny GK
00:09:49 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, I spent too much. I've bought too many things that are expensive off of Instagram, and one of them is a shampoo brand, and the other one is this stupid mascara. I'm never going back to another mascara, ever.
00:10:01 - Jenny GK
Oh, is it so great?
00:10:02 - Caitlin Kindred
It's so great. My eyelashes get so long. I'm like, this is not and then.
00:10:06 - Jenny GK
Those are your real eyelashes.
00:10:08 - Caitlin Kindred
These are my real eyelashes right now.
00:10:09 - Jenny GK
Oh, I thought that you got them done.
00:10:11 - Caitlin Kindred
No. So I'm obsessed. I would highly recommend okay, should we move on? We should.
00:10:17 - Jenny GK
Should we talk about my favorite thing, the gem of the week? This week's gem comes courtesy of my four year old, and we are working very hard on building my eleven year old's entry in the cardboard boat regatta at her school. And they float these boats in a real lake with like, ski boats on it.
00:10:38 - Caitlin Kindred
00:10:39 - Jenny GK
This is a legit boat. It's not like, okay, we're going to float it in the creek. If you fall out of your boat, you have to swim the course.
00:10:47 - Caitlin Kindred
No, I'm out. I'm already out.
00:10:49 - Jenny GK
She and I were the first mother daughter team in recent school history to be both teacher and student. Building a boat together, that's awesome. It's called the Passion Tea, which is our favorite drink to get together at Starbucks. And the boat is in the shape of a teapot. And none of this is important to the gem.
00:11:12 - Caitlin Kindred
It's so cute, though.
00:11:14 - Jenny GK
What's important is we were building this cardboard boat and my four year old desperately wanted to be part of the process. And anyone who's worked with small children knows that you can just give them a task and they'll feel like they're part of the process. Right? Like, oh, you want to cook? Okay. I want you to take this bowl full of water and stir it with this spoon. We're going to add a little flour. It's going to get thick. Keep stirring. In this case, I gave him a piece of cardboard and some duct tape oh, no. And said, what can you build to help our boat? So he folds the cardboard into a triangular prism, and I would like for you to imagine, like, Dark Side of the Moon album cover. Okay? That type.
00:11:52 - Caitlin Kindred
You're speaking to a former math teacher who had to teach shapes. So, you know I know, I know a triangular prism, all right?
00:11:59 - Jenny GK
So he holds it up and says, look, I made a triangle. Now, the math teacher in me is so jazzed about this, right? So I look at him and I say, oh, you did make a triangle. What makes it a triangle? And I'm thinking, he's going to tell me it has three sides or it has three corners, or maybe he's going to tell me the interior angles add up to 180 degrees.
00:12:22 - Caitlin Kindred
Sure, of course he's going to tell you.
00:12:23 - Jenny GK
Probably not, right?
00:12:24 - Caitlin Kindred
00:12:24 - Jenny GK
He looks at me and he goes.
00:12:26 - Caitlin Kindred
It'S shape, it's shape. Obviously, that's what makes it a idiot. Mr. Dumas. Like, what are you?
00:12:42 - Jenny GK
Well, and also, maybe he's sad for Abby that I'm helping her build this boat and I don't even know what.
00:12:48 - Caitlin Kindred
I love your kids. They're so funny. My gem comes courtesy of our DMs.
00:12:53 - Jenny GK
Oh, my gosh. Got to love it. We get the best messages usually. And listeners, it's not too late for you to send us one at CK and GK podcast. Go ahead.
00:13:04 - Caitlin Kindred
Literally anywhere you are on social, we are there. So I get this DM on Instagram, and most of them are like, hey, can I promote your podcast? I see great results. And I'm like, do you? Because you have 14 followers. No, you cannot promote my podcast. So this one was different. It's from a movie. Let me just read the message, okay? It says hey there. My team and I are currently in development of a high action super gory horror movie. And then they name the title, which I'm not going to say. And I was wondering if we could schedule a podcast with you, me, and a couple of actors in the film. Two to three, max. We'd highly appreciate it, and we think we would be great content for you and for us. I have no problem with this group of people trying to promote their movie. No.
00:14:02 - Jenny GK
John and I just had a date night earlier this week, and we watched Scream Six. I do like a crappy horror movie.
00:14:13 - Caitlin Kindred
But I just don't do horror movies at all. But the funniest part of this to me is that we are clearly not the target audience of when you think.
00:14:24 - Jenny GK
Of the demographics for a gory horror movie.
00:14:28 - Caitlin Kindred
Is it too mob? Okay, so here's my response, because I'm not just going to ignore I don't like it when I get these not targeted messages. It bothers me.
00:14:40 - Jenny GK
Clearly, it's not a robot.
00:14:41 - Caitlin Kindred
Right? It's not a robot, but it's also someone who hasn't done any research or knows anything about absolutely.
00:14:47 - Jenny GK
They deserve to be responded to because they're not a robot, but they also deserve to know that it was a.
00:14:55 - Caitlin Kindred
Big swing and amiss. So here's my response. I just said hi there, we're 40 ish moms and we're teachers. I don't think we'd be a fit for you all. What was I supposed to say? And then I think I just hit send and then after that they're like oh okay, cool. And I was just like be well, make a choices like see who and.
00:15:26 - Jenny GK
The be well to me like I read it in a British accent like it's Simon Cowell.
00:15:33 - Caitlin Kindred
Cheerio. I should have said make good choices or something other like super mommy be on for dinner. It was so random. Clearly this person has not done they were just looking for the word podcast and just started copying and pasting which.
00:15:54 - Jenny GK
Is fine and just also endearing to me because it shows that when you're searching we're coming up. Yeah, that's like a great thing but yeah, I know.
00:16:03 - Caitlin Kindred
So random. So anyway, that's my gem.
00:16:06 - Jenny GK
Well, speaking of being teachers, when we come back from the break we have some important information about how to avoid the summer slide. We'll be right back. And we're back.
00:16:21 - Caitlin Kindred
Yay, we're here. We're just going to jump right into it. Let's talk about how to help your kid not completely lose their mind and all sense of being in a classroom during the summer.
00:16:38 - Jenny GK
Let's be real here, okay? We are not talking about two steps forward. We are talking about zero steps back people.
00:16:44 - Caitlin Kindred
00:16:46 - Jenny GK
This is not about getting ahead over the summer.
00:16:49 - Caitlin Kindred
00:16:49 - Jenny GK
This is about staying on track so that when you finish fifth grade, you're ready to start 6th grade in the fall, right?
00:16:55 - Caitlin Kindred
For your kids. Let's start with some general tips.
00:16:57 - Jenny GK
Yeah, cool. Yes.
00:16:58 - Caitlin Kindred
First one, create a routine. Okay. A study schedule over the summer that incorporates some learning time and some time for fun and relaxation. So the morning time, go for a walk or go for a bike ride or something every single morning. And then we would come back and we would do some coloring and then we would come from that. We would move in and having a snack and then we made it so that it was predictable for all of us. So we always knew what to expect. And that's not to say that he always had the same snack every day or he always went on the exact same route for the bike ride. It was that we always knew this chunk of time was going to be dedicated to doing something like that. So if that means that you're always going to spend an hour every morning kicking your kids out the door, making them go play basketball in the front, that's fine. But it needs to be something that's predictable for all of you and you.
00:17:57 - Jenny GK
Need to stick to who you are as a family. If you are a family that hasn't prioritized reading 3 hours a day all school year long, don't try and do it in the summer.
00:18:09 - Caitlin Kindred
00:18:10 - Jenny GK
Kids know when you're faking it. If you want to get to where you're reading 3 hours, you have got to build that culture in your family. My family does not read 3 hours together. We cannot do it. But we can read for 45 minutes together, either out loud or separately. Independently. What? Kit calls in the vegetable reading time because he didn't say individual. So in the vegetable.
00:18:32 - Caitlin Kindred
00:18:34 - Jenny GK
So we can have 45 minutes of in the vegetable reading time. But that's because we've built up that stability in our family. I cannot on June 1 ask my kids to read for two and a half hours. It's not going to work.
00:18:46 - Caitlin Kindred
You're right. There has to be some endurance build up there for sure.
00:18:49 - Jenny GK
So just stick to who you are. And if you're a family that didn't prioritize riding your bikes every single day, don't make the kids ride their bikes every single day for an hour. Start with, this is something I want to do together. Can we start with a ten minute ride? Let's try 20. The kids are going to have the physical stability, but still the change is going to be hard. So be true to who you are as a family.
00:19:11 - Caitlin Kindred
You mean stamina? Is that the word you're trying to say? Because you're saying stability.
00:19:16 - Jenny GK
I meant stamina.
00:19:17 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay, well, we're just going to go with it. I like that you so I think it works. You build upon things you already know how to do. So with my kids, I would say, okay, we know how to talk out a paragraph. We know how to talk about something. Now we're going to write down our ideas, right? Okay, now we're going to talk about it, write down our ideas and then organize our ideas. Okay, now we're going to talk about it. Write down ideas, organize our ideas, and then we're going to add in transition words. You don't just force the full paragraph format on them right away. You start out small with those baby steps. So I absolutely agree. Building up that endurance for activities that you want them to practice as part of their routine is going to be key over the summer.
00:20:00 - Jenny GK
It's also not sustainable if you say, okay, you must do an hour and a half of math before I give you the WiFi password, you're going to stick with that for two days, and then you're going to hate yourself.
00:20:10 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, man, I already hate myself. Okay, so our next tip is to explore your community. This is a good time to get out and explore community, if you can. I'm someone who works now during the summer, so I'm going to have to find ways to build that into the routine that we have. So I intend to look for opportunities that are summer camp related, where he gets to go to places he doesn't always get to go to. So that's what I've targeted for summer.
00:20:39 - Jenny GK
And that can be part of your routine, right? If childcare and Camp is part of your summer schedule, that's normal. You build in that to the routine.
00:20:50 - Caitlin Kindred
So that kind of goes along with what we were saying earlier about the whole stamina endurance piece. We're going to start setting goals. Okay? So if you're saying, okay, this week we're going to read together for ten minutes, right side by side, or we're going to read together for ten minutes, I'll read out loud to you, and then the next week we're going to read out loud for twelve minutes and you're going to read some of the pages with me. And you're going to set goals and you're going to say, okay, by the end of the summer, I want you to be able to sit in your room, or I'll sit with you in your room next to each other. But I'm reading my book and you're looking at your book. Right, but we're going to work on the whole summer getting to that point, so you don't have to worry about doing it on your own right now. But we are going to come to that together. So I think the goal setting piece is going to be key there and let them help you make that goal.
00:21:37 - Jenny GK
00:21:39 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay. Make it social. Make any activity that you're doing, especially learning activities, social. Encourage them to participate with friends or siblings. Think about setting up like a book club for your kids. Put together a little study club. Like when kids on our block are a little bit older, I might say, okay, we can have math club on Thursdays for 30 minutes and you guys can just come over to my house and we'll practice some math facts for 30 minutes and then that's it. But then it'll be a time for them to get together because I remember being younger and thinking, man, there's a lot of friends I don't see over the summer. So having ways to make sure that you get to see those friends, especially for learning time, it's going to feel much more authentic and a lot less like my mom's making me learn over that summer.
00:22:30 - Jenny GK
00:22:31 - Caitlin Kindred
00:22:31 - Jenny GK
And there's that positive peer pressure piece too, for sure.
00:22:35 - Caitlin Kindred
Hopefully moms everywhere are going to breathe their sigh of relief over this one. Use technology wisely. Now let me just say this blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, screen time limits.
00:22:46 - Jenny GK
Blah, blah blah wisely means sometimes it's for an hour because I need a break wisely.
00:22:55 - Caitlin Kindred
It's like, listen, I have a meeting for 2 hours. You can do what you have to do.
00:23:00 - Jenny GK
We are recording midweek on an evening. What is my son doing right now? Watching TV when my husband coaches football and I come and record whatever it.
00:23:10 - Caitlin Kindred
Is, what it is. You do what you have to do. Now, are there ways to make that technology time more beneficial?
00:23:17 - Jenny GK
00:23:19 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay. There's tons of apps out there that can help you practice or not. You, you might need the practice, but help your kid practice math and reading and writing skills. We like IXL. We like Khan academy. Khan Academy is always going to be free. So there's that. We like ABC Mouse, which is a paid subscription, but it's still a good one. And you can always cancel it after a couple of months anyway if you're not using it again during the school year.
00:23:44 - Jenny GK
And there's outschool classes.
00:23:46 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, tons of those too. And they're so great. Oh, man. So like for my son and his kids kindle, I can set it up so that he has to do some sort of learning activity for the first 15 minutes before any games open up. And that whole thing shuts off after another 45. So he only gets an hour of screen time with that, but he has to spend time on it with reading. Or right now he can listen to Audible all he wants to. He can read as many books as he wants, but he can only spend like 45 minutes playing games.
00:24:20 - Jenny GK
That's nuts. Yeah, it's really 20th century.
00:24:23 - Caitlin Kindred
I know, right?
00:24:24 - Jenny GK
00:24:27 - Caitlin Kindred
I did agree with that too. Okay.
00:24:30 - Jenny GK
And so the tip that I have that I feel like is very important not just for the summer slide, but in general is to normalize learning for learning's sake. I know you are dog tired in the evening. I am. And I know that the weekends get booked up with sports or clubs or driving the taxicab, I mean, minivan around, so I get it. I understand. But model intellectual curiosity. Ask questions that you don't know the answer to and discover the answers together with your family. I love that you can read an article and if it's something that you don't think the language is accessible to your children yet, go ahead and read the article out loud and let them notice words and say, okay, you know this word. What does this word say? And talk about it?
00:25:25 - Caitlin Kindred
I think it's newsella.
00:25:26 - Jenny GK
00:25:27 - Caitlin Kindred
Newsella is a really great resource for stories. Essentially the idea is you look up a news article on News Ella, and then if you need to change the grade level for the reading, they can level it will level the text for you. So you can have a 6th grader who understands a very complex subject with an article that's written just for a 6th grade reading level. So it's totally worth looking into that. And I think my favorite answer to questions that I truly don't know the answer to is to straight up say, I don't know. Let's go find out together.
00:26:02 - Jenny GK
00:26:02 - Caitlin Kindred
The number of times that my child has asked about a certain animal right now he's curious about lice. Mom, can cats get lice? That's a great question.
00:26:13 - Jenny GK
I don't know.
00:26:13 - Caitlin Kindred
I'm sure that they can, but let's go look it up. Little things by the way, he doesn't have lice. I just have to say that.
00:26:21 - Jenny GK
Yeah, no, he doesn't have lice.
00:26:22 - Caitlin Kindred
He does not have lice. He's just curious because there's somebody at school who does, so he's very concerned.
00:26:27 - Jenny GK
So Abby and I spend anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes in the car together each day driving to and from school.
00:26:33 - Caitlin Kindred
00:26:33 - Jenny GK
And sometimes it's a Taylor Swift sing along. Okay, thanks. I'm not going to say, like, I'm one of these moms. It's like, oh, my gosh, we're learning every minute of the day together. No, but there are sometimes I'm like, oh, I want to listen to this podcast with you. It's a really interesting topic. Let's do it. And so this week we were listening to veganism. Is it healthy? Does it align with our evolutionary history? And this is a podcast that is pretty PG. It's okay for my kid to listen to, and together we're discovering something, and we can pause it and chitchat a little bit, then press play and keep going. And it's learning for learning's sake. Neither one of us is vegan or planning to become a vegan, but it's really interesting to learn about.
00:27:22 - Caitlin Kindred
There's a couple of really good kid podcasts that I really like. One of them is called Tumble. It's a science podcast for kids. One of them is called but. Why? A Podcast for Curious Kids? Brains on is another good one. There's some other really great ones. Brains on also has one called Moment of. So there's just some really great ones for kids. And you could model listening to that together, right. And then ask questions and learn together. I think that's a really cool idea.
00:27:52 - Jenny GK
Okay, so reading and writing and arithmetic, right?
00:27:55 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, absolutely. When I was a social studies teacher, I would always tell the kids, like, your parents probably don't care about my class because I'm a social studies teacher, because they care about English class and they care about math class, and they sometimes care about science, but they don't care about mine. But you could just tell them that my class is the one that uses all the other content areas. They'd be like, oh, cool. So finally got my kids and their parents excited about it. But we all know parents really care about reading, writing, and arithmetic. So I'll tell you about math first. Yeah.
00:28:27 - Jenny GK
When I was primarily a science teacher, I would say math is just a tool that scientists use. And now that I'm a primary math teacher, I say, oh, well, math is what lets science happen.
00:28:41 - Caitlin Kindred
Every subject area teacher does every single one of them, like, without me.
00:28:46 - Jenny GK
00:28:46 - Caitlin Kindred
Voltaire means nothing. Okay. Calm down, Shakespeare.
00:28:54 - Jenny GK
Okay. So there are all kinds of activities that you can do throughout the summer that involve numbers in multiple forms, like cooking or shopping or playing games or measuring. Oh, my goodness. Measure, measure, measure. There's all kinds of fun games and apps to make. Math more enjoyable or engaging. We're going to say this for all of those subjects, right? Consider bringing in a tutor if that's something that you can afford. Or finding a math center or a tutoring center where they can go and it's a different salient adult working on the topic. Yes, because I have a perfect eleven year old daughter. There's nothing wrong with her and she would never blah, blah, blah. Right? The year that we were at home and home schooled together, I'm surprised both of us made it with a hair still left on our head.
00:29:45 - Caitlin Kindred
00:29:45 - Jenny GK
It is hard when it's your own kid. There's a different dynamic when you bring in another adult. But I know that there's a fee associated with that. So that's not something that every family can keep up with.
00:29:55 - Caitlin Kindred
00:29:56 - Jenny GK
Again, exposure to all different number forms. And when I mean that, I talk about fractions and decimals, mixed numbers, variables. If you are baking something together, don't measure only in the increments that it's asking for. If it says it needs a cup and a half of milk, do not get out the one cup and the half cup measure.
00:30:14 - Caitlin Kindred
I never do that.
00:30:15 - Jenny GK
Get out the way. How many of these do we need?
00:30:19 - Caitlin Kindred
I use the one because that way I only have to wash. I'm so lazy that I'd rather do the math than actually wash the dish. Right? Oh my goodness.
00:30:29 - Jenny GK
Just like I said before about learning for learning's sake, do math for math's sake. Pick a problem and say, hey, let's do this together. It might take five minutes for you to work through that two step equation together, but that's five minutes that you spend on a rich math discussion for only the reason of doing math.
00:30:49 - Caitlin Kindred
I know. I love that.
00:30:50 - Jenny GK
Yeah. It validates what your kids are doing all year long. It's not, when am I ever going to use this? It's I love math just because it's math. Now, even if you don't listen up very carefully, raise your right hand and repeat after me. I, state your name, will never say, I am not a math person ever again in front of my children.
00:31:14 - Caitlin Kindred
Here's why you can't say that. Because it's not true. You're lying to your kids if you do any sort of any adult thing. Pay a bill, go to the grocery store, buy gas, anything like that, that is math. Even if it's just counting, it's still math. If it's money, it's math. You can't say that. And what you're doing is you're telling your kid it's okay for them to not be a math person too. So they'll just go, oh, well, my mom doesn't really get it, so it's fine if I know. Or you're making yourself look like a hypocrite. Because then you are coming down on your kids for not getting the math when you also refuse to try to get the math because you're quote, not a math person.
00:31:58 - Jenny GK
00:31:59 - Caitlin Kindred
Don't do that.
00:32:00 - Jenny GK
Is it okay that their homework is something that you don't remember how to do or maybe never learned? Totally.
00:32:06 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay. Absolutely. Because now you're going to go, I'm curious. Let's go learn it together. And you can use your Google Machine, and then you're going to find probably Khan Academy, and he's going to talk you through how to do it. And you and Salman Khan and your kid are going to sit there together and do a problem all together, and.
00:32:23 - Jenny GK
It'S going to be great sake of learning. And let me tell you this. We've said it before. You got to get the photo math app because you just take a picture of the problem, and it tells you, step by step, one algorithm to solve it. Not the only algorithm, but one, and you can use that to develop another. And maybe you and your child might think of a math problem two different ways, and you can talk about how you thought about it.
00:32:46 - Caitlin Kindred
If you come to the same answers different ways, it's okay. But also getting mad at your kid about new math. The math is not new.
00:32:55 - Jenny GK
00:32:55 - Caitlin Kindred
The math is just now you're having to understand why that math is working.
00:33:01 - Jenny GK
We can go into a whole tirade about entire math and how it's changed and DA DA DA DA. The math itself has not changed. What has changed is math instruction. And the only thing that I want you to hear from this whole episode is, don't say you're not a math person. Don't say it. Say, oh, I don't know how to do that yet, or I man, I learned that when I was 13, but I just don't remember. Can you talk to me through it? Let's see if I can make some sense of it. That's what math is, sense making.
00:33:35 - Caitlin Kindred
00:33:35 - Jenny GK
Math was hard for me.
00:33:36 - Caitlin Kindred
Math was hard for me. That's okay. You may say that. You may not say I'm not a math person. Math was hard for me.
00:33:41 - Jenny GK
I wish I had you as a math teacher when I was growing up. Wow, you really explain it clearly. What a different statement that is. All right.
00:33:49 - Caitlin Kindred
How empowering for your kid, too. Moving on. I think we both need to talk about reading. I want to talk primarily about the writing one, but they kind of go together, so let's start with reading first. I'm not a fan of summer book lists unless there's choice involved.
00:34:07 - Jenny GK
00:34:08 - Caitlin Kindred
Because kids are not in school, they are not required to read, especially older kids. They're not required to read certain texts at certain times. So this is your opportunity to find the things that your kids are interested in and use their interest to make a summer reading list. Most libraries these days, you can peruse the shelves online before you even go to the library, or you can do what I do, which is peruse the shelves, check out the books and then just go pick them up. You have to go in.
00:34:45 - Jenny GK
If you live in Austin, the Austin Library lets you do that. You can build a whole text set and check it all out, and it'll just be waiting for you on the shelf at the front.
00:34:55 - Caitlin Kindred
Put together a whole summer reading list with your kid. Or just say, what are you interested in right now? Let's find three books on that topic. And then you have two weeks, and you're going to read those three books. Now, if you can, check out two of them, and then you can read together. Also, I'm going to say this now. Do not prevent your child from reading graphic novels.
00:35:19 - Jenny GK
00:35:20 - Caitlin Kindred
Old people. If you're an old person, you're going to be like, you mean those comic books? They're not comic books. It's not the same thing. And even if they were book, who cares? Your kid is real dialogue, and they're reading. So it doesn't matter if they want to read a book about minecraft, who cares? They're reading a book. Don't complain about it and don't shut it down. Let them read their book, especially over the summer. Cares if they're reading, go with it, right? Mine likes to read. Let them read it. Now, I'm going to also say schedule a regular reading time. This goes back to that routine piece, right? Schedule a regular reading time. Every day at my first school, I was teaching, we used to call it SSR, which stood for Sustained silent reading. And I always told my kids, listen, 6th graders, I love you dearly, but I have my book right here, and y'all need to sit down, shut up, and read. That is what SSR is in my room, and I'm going to read my book because I love this book. I think I was reading Gone Girl in front of them, and at one point, I was like and one of my kids looked at me and she goes, was it so good, miss? Was it a test? And I was like, Sorry, guys. It's so good.
00:36:30 - Jenny GK
You have to do but you have.
00:36:33 - Caitlin Kindred
To do it, too, if you're going to have SSR. It can't be, okay, my kid has SSR, and then I'm going to go do the laundry, or I'm going to finally sit here with my coffee and just scroll through Instagram. No, it has to be family. Sustained, silent reading. It has to be family. Sit down, shut up in read time. And you can build up start with seven minutes, then go to nine, then make it to 30. Hopefully in a few weeks, you'll get to 30. And then you can extend it from there. But you have to do it with them, otherwise they're not going to participate with you.
00:37:05 - Jenny GK
Absolutely. Yeah. Transition.
00:37:07 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah. I'm going to add this one other thing, okay? If your little one is learning to read, there are some books that are helpful. One of the ones I'm thinking of right now is teach your child to read in like 18 easy lessons, or something like that. I am looking over here because I have it, but it was recommended to me by personally, which I have to say, one of the perks of my job. I work with a literacy company and we do webinars, and I've met Dr. Anita Archer, who's a very famous you're so famous. Yes. And she recommended this book, and she's incredibly kind woman, but I would highly recommend that one. But also, there is nothing wrong with making flashcards and having your child practice flashcards of sight words. You can look up a list of like, the 100 most common sight words. They are everywhere, all over pinterest. Tons of first pre teachers have them, there's lots of them. And you can just make flashcards. And again, start slow. Say, okay, we're going to practice this for 1 minute today. Okay, we're going to practice for two minutes. And then when they start knowing all of them, then you can start to race and see how many they can get in five minutes or how many.
00:38:17 - Jenny GK
That's the kind of thing that you can throw in your bag and have whenever you're waiting around somewhere.
00:38:22 - Caitlin Kindred
Yes. And there's also some really great tutorials on instagram of teachers who are like, here's why this word ends with CK and this word ends with C and this word ends with K. Like, it's, it's really, really great stuff that you can find online.
00:38:35 - Jenny GK
That's awesome. So, yep, my four year old has learned to write his name, but is definitely not in the place where he's learning to read yet, which is, okay, totally fine. I know he will learn to read, but that doesn't change that we can still have family in the vegetable reading time, because he knows that when you hold a book, there are things to look at, there are things to talk about, there are things to learn. And so he might go through 15 books in the time it takes for me to read one chapter, but he's still holding a book, interacting with it, and I can ask him questions about it and we can discuss it.
00:39:16 - Caitlin Kindred
And you can make your own scavenger hunt of a book where's the title, where's the author, things like that, that you can use to help kids identify parts of a book.
00:39:24 - Jenny GK
Love it, love it.
00:39:25 - Caitlin Kindred
Okay, writing, okay. This is where my heart lies. Over the summer, you'd be amazed at how many kids come back in the pool and they're like, oh, man, that catalyst on my finger is gone from where I used to hold my pencil. Or like, it hurts to write, man, I'm not used to writing like this. And you're like what? You're not used to writing like what? I'm going to say let's start by encouraging your child to keep a journal over the summer. I love the idea, personally, of a joint journal where parent creates a prompt and kid responds and then parent answers back. You can just write letters back and forth to each other. There's lots of great sentence starters that you can use for reflection. Again, just a quick Google search. Reflection journal prompts for kids. And you will find a whole bunch of things with little ones, you can say, okay, pick up three leaves. Okay, now we're going to do trace art over the leaves or whatever. Just make sure that you're putting something in their hands, using it on a piece of paper.
00:40:26 - Jenny GK
So Abby and I have a book that is full of mother daughter prompts, and I'll say, okay, let's do the book. And so for ten minutes, we'll do one page together. Quick. It's easy. We keep it on the coffee table so when we're feeling like it, we can pull it out and work on it. And because there's so many different prompts in it, we don't have to work through it page by page. We can kind of skip around and do what's interesting to us.
00:40:49 - Caitlin Kindred
Love it. You can also, especially for younger ones or kids who really dislike writing, have them draw. Drawing is fine too. Sam and I have one of those draw with mom books, and I draw part of the picture, and then he draws the other part of the picture, and then we put it together.
00:41:03 - Jenny GK
I love it. Yeah.
00:41:04 - Caitlin Kindred
You can also make this go along with their reading, right?
00:41:08 - Jenny GK
Oh, absolutely. One of the things I those things don't need to be divorced. There's no reason for it to be separate, but if you want it to be, it can, right? It all depends on what's right for your family and your child.
00:41:21 - Caitlin Kindred
Right? For older kids, they might go, oh, I have to do a reading log. It's a reading journal, so they might hate that idea, and that's totally fine. But for the younger ones, it's okay to say, like, okay, for your journal prompt today, I want you to tell me what you read about. You're not grading it, you're not looking for spelling. All you're doing is making sure that they're actually practicing writing. And if you do feel an urge to correct, I'm going to encourage you to find one mistake only and correct.
00:41:52 - Jenny GK
That on a sticky note. Don't dare write on their work.
00:41:55 - Caitlin Kindred
Don't write on their work. Right. Or if you're walking by and you're like, oh, I finished my journal. How's yours coming? Or whatever. And you see that the word this has the letters inverted or something, you can go, you know what I see? This all looks so great. Let's fix this one word right here. And then I think I'll understand exactly what you're trying to tell me, and that's it. You only fix one thing because otherwise you're nitpicking, and you don't want to do that. Right.
00:42:22 - Jenny GK
They should not be punished for doing the right thing.
00:42:25 - Caitlin Kindred
No. And it's not your job to grade. And if you do, unless you're a homeschool mom, which is a different situation, but if you're not a homeschool parent, it's not your job, and they're going to start to be mad at you for doing it, so don't bother. It's just your job to guide in this situation, right. I'm also going to encourage you to write in front of your kids. Yes.
00:42:44 - Jenny GK
But this goes along with everything we've been saying. You got to model it.
00:42:47 - Caitlin Kindred
Right. And again, it can't be typing, and it's not text to speech. Right? I write all day long. That's a lot of what I do for my job. But also, my child knows that I'm writing on the computer, and it's not the same as what he's doing in class. So I need to be better about modeling, actually writing things down in front of my kids. And that might just be me opening up my planner and writing down the things that are in my phone calendar so that I have it in two places and not just one. But that's still writing. It counts well.
00:43:19 - Jenny GK
And you can go and pick up some postcards and say, hey, let's write to so and so. I'll write one. You write one postcards.
00:43:26 - Caitlin Kindred
I love that idea.
00:43:27 - Jenny GK
You can sit there and work on it. I am doing a pen pal book club with a ten year old this summer. I love that it's not my kid, right? But she wants to read a book that I also want to read, and I said, okay, you read it. And she says, Well, I'm going to be at Camp Monster this summer, okay? We'll be penthouse. We'll set up a schedule. So we are printing off a calendar and writing down when we're going to read what chapter, and then we're going to write to each other about what we experienced.
00:43:59 - Caitlin Kindred
I love that. That's so cute.
00:44:01 - Jenny GK
And you know I will be writing those letters in front of my children, right?
00:44:06 - Caitlin Kindred
When my kid first went to the post office, it was like a big deal. We wrote him a letter, and then we were able to help him put it in the mail and all that kind of stuff. And then for his preschool, they had him draw a picture, and they had to mail it back to the house. And yes, it costs money to mail things. I get that. But you can do it differently. You can still address it and all those things and just not mail it. Just put it underneath their door. But also, it is really fun if you're a kid to get mail.
00:44:36 - Jenny GK
So if you happen to know someone who's not living in your house, yeah. Maybe you pick up on saying, okay, well, I'm going to be Pennsylvania house with so and so. Do you want to do it?
00:44:46 - Caitlin Kindred
I love that idea. I'm going to make my kid write to his aunts that are not living in town. I love it. So there's a whole bunch of ways to do this, and you'll notice the only one that costs money really is the tutoring one. And I get that you may feel like, you know what? I'm not equipped to do this. I can't do it. And that's fine. That's fine. You can build a routine, though, and you can encourage conversations, at the very least about what's happening with the tutor so that you're engaged in what's going on. And just because the kid is with the tutor once a week doesn't mean that you don't have to participate in any sort of summer learning. You do have to participate in some way, shape, or form. Maybe you're just not doing the hard stuff.
00:45:26 - Jenny GK
Be curious. Discover things together.
00:45:29 - Caitlin Kindred
00:45:29 - Jenny GK
Remember a few weeks ago, my obsession was about worms?
00:45:34 - Caitlin Kindred
Yeah, you're weirdo.
00:45:35 - Jenny GK
It was super weird. But it was so interesting to learn about these nine foot worms. I'm telling you, you got a kid in your house under the age of 13, they are going to want to learn about nine foot worms, even if it's so gross. Find an article.
00:45:48 - Caitlin Kindred
I picked up a worm today. Did I tell you that I picked up a worm today because it was in the street?
00:45:52 - Jenny GK
Oh, you saved it.
00:45:54 - Caitlin Kindred
I saved it. I put it back in the dirt.
00:45:55 - Jenny GK
You saved an analyt.
00:45:57 - Caitlin Kindred
An analyt. That's what they are.
00:45:59 - Jenny GK
All right, well, you're going into summer. Know that you don't have to worry about building up your child's knowledge more than what your teacher told you you need to focus on. If you were not given specific guidance as to what to do over the summer, your job is to establish a routine model learning for learning's sake and turn your household into a curious place.
00:46:25 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, I love that. Say them again.
00:46:28 - Jenny GK
Model learn for learning's sake. Turn your household into a curious place.
00:46:34 - Caitlin Kindred
My God. I was really hoping you were forgiven.
00:46:36 - Jenny GK
Did you hear the pause? You were like, did you hear the pause? There was a pause.
00:46:43 - Caitlin Kindred
Oh, my voice is clearly going. So we're going to wrap this up. Y'all can do this. The summer slide is just a place to put water on and go play. It's not a thing that's going to happen in your house with the kids brains. Okay?
00:46:56 - Jenny GK
Make good choices.
00:46:58 - Caitlin Kindred
Save the worms. Okay, bye.