Second grade is reading and writing and arithmetic; it's general exploration of science and music and cultures. It's also, however, about personal development, and that underlying piece of the curriculum runs through every subject area.
This year, your child will learn to be more independent, self-reliant and responsible than ever before, and your help is positively required for this lesson. And while "responsibility" in school might be a little boring (or not), you can make it part of the fun this summer at home.
Doubtful? Try out one of these:
Sell Some Lemonade
Put those cooking math projects to entrepreneurial use with a neighborhood lemonade stand! (Or bake sale or veggies-from-our-garden sale -- you get the idea.) Help your child make the drinks (with him or her doing the measuring, of course), carry the table to the driveway and lug the ice, and then, stand back. After first grade, your budding business owner can tell the difference between the various types of currency, so taking a quarter a cup is entirely within his or her range. And if you step in to help make change, be sure to play a supporting role: "Four quarters make a dollar" is fantastic second-grade prep.
Throw a Yard Sale
Don't get much daily foot traffic where you live? Bring the customers to the lemonade with a yard sale! It's a perfect way for kids to help with the endeavor, and playing a responsible part in the sale will be exciting for your 7-year-old. Another great yard sale role? A kids' table, where everything is a dime and your child is in charge.
Start an Allowance
If you haven't yet instituted a weekly allowance for chores, now would be a great time to do so. Drying the dishes, walking the dog and putting all the toys away at the end of the day are worthwhile tasks. And while those tasks may not be much fun, going to the dollar store on Saturday so your child can buy whatever he or she wants with his or her own week's earnings (or rather half of them, with the rest set aside for a rainy day) will be a joy. You may even find yourself with a true saver on your hands who'd rather hit the toy store once a month!
Allowances and theater productions and following simple recipes may not seem very school-like, but that's the point. Summer fun can be the setting for all sorts of lessons your child can carry confidently into second grade, and getting there is easy: Grab a few ideas, adapt them to your family and your child's specific needs, and tap into the same creative streak that gets your kid to eat the broccoli. You'll probably find second-grade prep to be easier than the broccoli.
For more information on second grade, school curriculum and age-based summer fun, check out the links on the next page.