When you were in school, the start of summer break was an exciting time. And for most kids in the U.S., it still is. But did you ever notice that when the fall semester rolled around again that you’d forgotten some things you’d just learned the semester before? Summer learning loss, also known as the “summer slide” or “summer slump”, is common in most students. Unfortunately, forgetting newly acquired knowledge negatively affects kids, their parents and teachers. What follows are some reliable ways as a parent to help your child stay sharper.
Summer Learning Loss Facts
Studies have found that without regular practice and repetition, new skills and knowledge that kids recently learned can quickly fade. And, younger children are typically at higher risk for experiencing these summer learning reversals. In other words, your child isn’t unusual if they can’t remember their math tables in July like they did in May.
Math-related skills seem to take the hardest hit over the summer months, with kids losing anywhere from 25 to 50% of their previous school year gains. That’s like 2 months of mathematics classroom learning wiped out in a matter of weeks!
The average student also sees a less-pronounced decline in their language arts abilities. That’s because most kids still read and write during the summer months – and that includes texting and social media posts. Regrettably, kids from lower-income families are more likely to see their reading comprehension skills suffer than middle and upper-middle class students.
How to Minimize Summer Learning Loss
As a concerned parent, the only summer “slide” you want your child to experience is the one at the local park or pool. To help keep learning loss at a minimum, education experts recommend using these summertime learning strategies:
Most public libraries offer summer reading programs that motivate kids to keep their reading skills fresh. For younger children, establishing a set “reading time” each day at home is a great way to boost reading comprehension and family bonding.
Road Trip Learning Activities
While traveling this summer on vacation, turn those long miles into a fun learning exercise. Put down those mobile devices and discuss a book your child is reading instead, or talk to them about the history and geography of your destination. Involve your children in planning the trip, ask them to look up possible sites to visit, and even let them to map out the journey itself!
Practice Math Skills
Let’s be honest, the average kid won’t spontaneously practice their mathematics skills. But when it comes to math retention, repetition matters. However, as a parent, you don’t have to be a drill instructor to make it happen.
In fact, studies have found that reviewing information every 10 to 11 days is effective for recall. In other words, simply working on the same basic math skills every week or so should suffice. To make practicing math more fun, try some educational computer games or software apps.
Online Educational Tools
Rainy days are the perfect time to interest your youngster in some online learning games and activities through resources like Learning Liftoff. Online educational activities for kindergarteners to high schoolers are a fun and impactful way for your kids to learn when you’re busy catching up on housework.
Turn Average Days into Extraordinary
Transform the average summertime activity into a learning adventure. If you’re making dinner, read the recipe with your child, and then involve them in the actual meal preparation. Explain how each ingredient works and why it’s important to properly cook certain foods. Measuring out ingredients together can be a challenging mathematical exercise just in itself!
Make going to the beach or woods an educational experience by talking about the wildlife. Discuss how beaches are formed, what plants need to grow or why the sky is blue. Hiking, bicycling, gardening, photography and home DIY projects are all summertime activities chocked full of learning potential for your kids.
Become a More Effective Early Childhood Educator
If you live in the Worcester, MA, area and would like to learn more about early childhood development topics, contact Family Services of Central Massachusetts today. Through our Center for Childhood Careers, FSCM offers Massachusetts-approved childhood development apprenticeships that help educators, potential educators or parents set and attain personal, professional and academic goals.
Our educator support program is designed for individuals who work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers or out-of-school elementary students. And, FSCM is proud of the fact that we have the only state-accredited child development apprenticeship program in Central Massachusetts! For more information, please call: 508-757-1503 or visit us at: www.fscm.org.