As the school year comes to and end, many parent's start thinking about ways to keep their children occupied during the long summer months. Day camps, pool passes and neighborhood play dates are on everyone's mind but what will happen to all the important information that children learned in school that year? What many parents don't know is that kids experience a phenomenon called "Summer Learning Loss".
Essentially, they forget a lot of what they learned in the previous school year over the summer months. In fact, studies have shown that kids lose more than two and a half months worth of math skills in the summertime. For kids that were already struggling in math, this means that they will start off the next school year even further disadvantaged. And it's not just math. Overall, kids lose an average of 1 month of learning in other subjects during the summer.
Think of athletes imagine if they stopped training for 2-3 months in the year. You would expect that when they return to their sport, they would experience a lag in performance. The brain is no different. It needs to be exercised.
So how can you keep your kids learning over the summer? Here are a few ideas.
- Read together - Visit a library. Find some books with topics that interest your child so that they are really engaged in reading. Read the books when they do so you can discuss them together.
- Explore - Visit local museums, zoos and historical sites. Help your child learn about history and the world they live in.
- Menu Planning plan your meal, write out recipes, ingredients/groceries, and send out invitations to family and friends. Ask your guests to write a review of your fine cuisine and make sure to write a review of Mom and Dad's next creation. These activities can reinforce math, reading, writing and organizational skills.
- Tutoring - Studies find that a third party, objective source can be more effective with helping students with their homework than parents so enrolling in summer tutoring programs are beneficial. In addition to staying fresh, summer is a great time to rebuild any missing foundations, or get a jump start on the upcoming school year. Getting a head start on math, for example, gives them a leg up on the school year and helps greatly with confidence. There's a common misconception out there that tutoring is strictly for remedial help when in fact many families bring a tutor on board before grades start to drop to give their students the necessary tools and confidence necessary to succeed and get ahead.
- Play - Buy mind engaging games that focus on interactivity for your children. Encourage them to invite friends over to play. Some children are more responsive to positive reinforcement so build a reward system into a game that requires learning.
These ideas will help your children stay fresh over the summer, build up more confidence, and prepare them to start the new school year with a bang!