The feeling of the summer vacation stretching ahead of you is great for students. And while reading and math may be the LAST thing they feel like doing, not doing anything during the summer holiday can lead to setbacks in ability. The National Summer Learning Association at Johns Hopkins University claims that students can lose as much as two months of reading and math ability over the summer break.
The summer brain drain means that teachers waste the first four to six weeks when school restarts in September reviewing work that students have forgotten. Students can fall behind if they are slow to get back into the rhythm and then they will spend the rest of the year trying to catch up. Summer doesn’t have to be all about education, but there are ways in which you can help your child/children to stay sharp.
Reading is fun
Take them to a bookstore or a library and get them some books that they will enjoy reading. Books don’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t matter what they’re reading, which means that comic books, anime books and magazines are all great summer reads.
Get them to participate in cooking and baking by reading and following instructions or try some summer projects like woodworking, building robots, building remote controlled airplanes, sewing clothing, learning a musical instrument or making a movie.
Set goals for the summer
Work together with your student to set up summer projects you want to pursue. You can do some of them together and some of them separately. Ensure that they are part of the process so that you have some really big goals that utilize extra summer time and keep young brains working. The summer is a great swathe of time that can be used to make real improvements to you family’s skill set. Imagine learning a new musical instrument, building a canoe to take camping for older students and making a kite or building a playhouse for younger family members. Make sure you set goals for the summer that will help you to spend time together, give you something to look forward to and ensure that your students aren’t bored over the break.
Get a tutor
This may not be something your child wants to do over the summer, but taking a little time out each week will make such a huge difference to the coming year. If your student has been struggling in a subject, or is preparing to write the SATs or ACTs, then a couple of hours of tutoring each week will make the coming year so much better. Get an in-home tutor to help your student to fill in the missing building blocks and gain confidence while improving grades.
Summer is also a great time for learning experiences like a trip to the aquarium or the zoo, or the museum, watching documentaries or going to the art gallery. Remember that the travel time can be used for reading or conversation. It is also valuable to have your child help plan the trip and prepare for it by planning the route, budget for the trip and pack food and beverages if appropriate. Learning these skills now will serve your child well down the road!
Post is adapted from a 4/22/13 post on the Tutor Doctor corporate site titled “Summer Brain Drain: How to Keep Sharp Over the Summer Vacation“