As the school year winds down, summer break is on everyone's minds. Most students and parents are thinking about upcoming vacations, time spent by the pool, and the logistics of not having school. The last concern for students is whether they will lose some of the academic progress they made during the school year.
The “summer slide” is a phenomenon well-known by teachers and parents. In fact, many curriculums build in accommodations for it. The first few chapters of textbooks are almost always a review from the prior year. We believe that a better goal than helping students catch back up is to help them not lose any ground in the first place. Here are some ways to help offset backslide this summer and set your student up for success come September:
If a student struggles with a known subject, it can be useful to spend some time over the summer reviewing past topics and previewing next year’s material. This allows them to become familiar with some of the concepts without the added stress of other classes.
Enroll your student in a summer program. This does not have to be purely academic; as long as it keeps the brain engaged, a variety of approaches will do. Things like a robot-building camp or a photography class – anything that keeps them in the learning mode – can reduce backslide.
Incentivize academic practice using technology. There are endless computer programs and iPad apps that focus on academic subjects. Make a deal with your child that for every minute spent playing an educational game they can have a certain amount of “free choice” time on the computer or iPad.
Sneak reading and math into everyday activities. Take the opportunity of summer to highlight the real world applications of what a student is learning in school. Read the newspaper in the morning or write out the new fractions after doubling a cookie recipe.
Studies show that students who read over the summer improve their reading skills, while those who do not, frequently regress in their reading ability. Institute a summer book club within your family. If you read the book with your child (whether it is school assigned or chosen together) they will be more motivated to read and will be able to have meaningful discussions about it with you.
Keeping students from losing ground in their education over the summer is critical to their success come the new school year. There are many different ways to keep kids’ minds engaged and to continue their education after school ends. The best part is that all of these ways still allow for a fun and relaxing summer, which is equally important for their mental health.
QWERTY has many options and lots of suggestions beyond this list for summer activities. What are some ways that you keep summer fun and educational?