Summer Workbooks

Updated on May 11, 2015
M.G. asks from Olathe, KS
21 answers

Hello, I am looking on Amazon at summer workbooks for my boys. One will be in the 8th Grade the other in the 11th Grade. One workbook I've found has an 8th Grade version and a 10th Grade version and that would probably be fine. The focus is reading comprehension and vocabulary. I'm just wanting something to keep their brains from turning to mush over the summer!! Do you have recommendations of workbooks? Maybe one that has several subjects included?

Thank you,


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So What Happened?

I do daycare in my home, so we are homebound during the day. (the boys can go to the neighborhood pool) They will be helping me this summer and I will be paying them. My older son is still learning to drive and doesn't have his own car, so him having a regular job at this point is a challenge. I am going to make up a schedule for the summer of things to do other than play video games. We are very active in Boy Scouts and they'll be gone for a week of camp in Colorado in July. My older son is part of the marching band and he'll be participating in band camp before school even starts. It's more the younger one that I need to keep busy and his mind going. We are going to visit the library and talk with a librarian to get some book suggestions. Thanks.

Featured Answers


answers from Dallas on

You don't need summer workbooks for that age group. They are too old for workbooks.

If they don't have study skills now, it's unlikely it will miraculously happen overnight or summer.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

This is so sad to me. I feel bad for the kids whose moms make them do work over the summer. Breaks are supposed to be just that...a break from school work. JMO. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from San Francisco on

Um, your kids are too old for workbooks. They should be busy working or volunteering over the summer, especially your 11th grader. Colleges look at that you know. What they do outside of school is almost (maybe more so?) important depending on where they want to go to school.
My girls went to camp when they were younger, then spent their high school summers working as camp counselors. My oldest also played volleyball, went to volleyball camp and babysat. My younger one babysat as well and volunteered at the animal shelter. They both took dance and music classes too.
Busy teenagers are happy teenagers and there's no time for brains to to turn to "mush" as you say. What do your boys want to do? Don't they want to earn money and gain some real world life experience? I can't believe they would be satisfied sitting home doing workbooks at their age, they are young men after all!

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

My recommendation, as a reading specialist, is to skip the workbooks and instead invest the money in actual books. Read the books along with your boys and have your own book discussions about them. Kids get more out of authentic reading than they do out of workbooks. There is a reason why most schools no longer use workbooks in their reading instruction. They are ineffective (and most kids hate them). Google "how to discuss a book with your child" and you will get lots of hits for generic questions that will work with any book.

Math is different. But I still don't know if I would choose a traditional workbook. I'd look for things that require problem solving and real life math. Not just page after page of math problems.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Abilene on

I second reading great books together. We have literature daily with homeschooling. It's a great time for all of us.

Enjoy summer!


8 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

My brain has turned to mush just trying to keep track of all the school work our son has - he's handling it just fine - straight A's across the board (even in trigonometry) 10th year in a row.
When school's done and summer vacation starts he's got a lot of recreational reading he wants to do and he's EARNED every bit of fun he can squeeze out of his summer vacation.
10 months/40 weeks/180 school days is a lot of info to cram into their heads.
Down time is important too.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I think it's odd for you to expect your teen kids to do workbooks during summer. Don't they have friends to do stuff with? Sleep late and watch movies? Do fun stuff with the family?

Just remember they are kids and need to have down time and play time and family time. That is what makes them a well rounded person.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

How about if they read some good books?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Most libraries have summer reading programs with incentives built in. At the ages your kids are those workbooks are not really much use. You would need a home schooling program. Are your kids behind? If not just encourage reading and maybe a job lol.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Could you all start a book club, maybe with other families?

Also your 1th grader should search for a job this summer. Get him a checking account so he can learn to save, and take care of a bank account.

They should also consider taking a CPR class.

And volunteering would be great for the 11th grader, looks great on collage applications.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

IMO, summers are about FUN and mushy brains.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What do their teachers recommend?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Some good computer stuff would be fun instead of workbooks.

Hillsdale college has some free online courses, i think they are for all ages.
Khan academy is free and fun.
Minecraft mods has excellent ratings

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree about getting both of them to volunteer and/or work. Even the younger boy can walk dogs etc.
Here's a free sure if you really want them to do some work!
It has each subject like math, science etc., up to 12th grade.
good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

In 8th grade, my kid didn't spend her days doing worksheets. She had a job. She wasn't old enough to be on a payroll, but she came to work with me at the animal hospital and helped me walk dogs and clean kennels, and I paid her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

** I totally mis-read your question - I read 8 and 10 years old, not 8th and 10th grade. I would check with their schools, many subjects have summer reading lists or prep lists that will help them be more successful the next year. If they are in any advanced classes, they are likely to have summer assignments. Also, check for SAT / ACT Prep books for your older son. :)

My kids both love school, and will often play school during the summer time. As a teacher myself, I don't want my kids to have the summer lag, which often happens when the kids return to school from summer vacation. We use the "Summer Bridge" books or the "Big Workbook" series. Part of our daily routine is to do two or three workbook pages, usually in the morning after breakfast, but when it is too early to head out to whatever summer activity we are doing that day, or to the pool. It keeps everyone sane - the kids actually like them, I appreciate that their brains are still working, and it allows me to do a few things I need to do before being technology free for the rest of the day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The only school thing my kids will be required to do this summer is language studies, and that's only because they are new at the languages and will lose a lot if they don't do anything for 2 1/2 months. Duolingo for Spanish and Rosetta Stone for Chinese, 15 minutes a day 5 days a week for each. They can do them on their phones on apps, so it will be easy to fit in 30 min a day.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

How about a family summer book club, where all of you choose one book to read each month and then talk about it? It might be a fun way to really see what they notice and what they are retaining.

The summer learning loss is real. My son (8) has a learning disability and so we will be doing 'school lite' this summer to keep his skills sharp. I understand where you are coming from. I also agree with those who suggest a well-rounded summer with a variety of engaging activities (volunteering, work, helping in the garden, etc) is perfect.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

Kudos to you for doing summer work. It's a fact that kids regress over the summer--doing 15-20 minutes a day of school work can help prevent that. It's amazing what a few minutes a day can do:) I don't have any suggestions, but I love that you're working on vocab and reading comprehension.

My kids are younger (elementary), but we do 'school' in the summer, too. We literally spend 15-20 minutes a day on math facts and reading comprehension--they have the other 13.5 hours of their waking hours to play. We also do a lot of hands on learning.


answers from Washington DC on

all i would do for kids this age is to have a family reading time every day. (or maybe i'm just rationalizing my need to read to my kids every day. i'm still missing it<G>.)
if THEY want to do some practicing to keep up their skills, though, i'd be very open to facilitate it. i'd just poke around the waldorf sites and find some free stuff. or go through the community colleges' summer student curricula and enroll them in a class or two that interested them.
what i would not do under any circumstances would be to demand that these adults-in-training sit down and swot over worksheets for hours every summer day. not unless they themselves felt they needed it and asked for it.
one of the best things kids this age can do over the summer is to start a business. my older was the entrepreneurial king!



answers from Minneapolis on

It sounds like they have some great things lined up for the summer already. Making up a schedule at their ages seems a bit much, though. Part of growing up is learning to manage your own time. I really think summer should be a break from the scheduled structure of school. If you're concerned they're just going to spend all their time playing video games, take them away or set some time limits. Are you worried they will complain about being bored? It's OK if they struggle with a little discomfort until they figure out what to do with their free time. It's their own challenge to figure it out. Hopefully, you can find a good teen library program that have some fun incentives and maybe a teen book club. That would be a much more fun way to build skills than workbooks.

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