As any teacher will tell you, the first few weeks of school after the summer break can be tough in the classroom. After a few months of summer fun, many students forget their lessons from the previous year of classes.
According to the Review of Education Research, most students lose two months of mathematical skills every summer. Other research says reading and other important educational skills learned throughout the year also take a dive during the break.
“Every student deserves a break between school years, but that doesn’t mean they also have to put learning on hold,” says Larry Frank of Huntington Learning Center of Richmond. “The ‘Summer Slide’ is a very real detriment to your child’s educational development, but there are so many fun and engaging ways to make learning and academic skill building an integral part of your summer plans.”
To help avoid the “Summer Slide,” here are five simple tips to help your student stay on top of the learning curve all summer long:
Learning Opportunities Are Everywhere When you plan your summer outings, include some fun and engaging educational activities, like trips to science museums, art exhibits, and cultural and historical sites. Research shows that children with access to interactive learning activities are less likely to forget what they learned over the summer. Plus, every sign, historical marker, and information placard you encounter is a chance for your child to practice reading and increase vocabulary skills.
Shopping Counts Whether you are headed to the grocery store or a roadside fruit stand, let your child put their math skills to the test. For younger children, let them help with shopping by keeping track of how many items you add to the cart or have them read prices for every item you choose. For older children, reinforce their multiplication or algebra skills (Example: “If we need six apples and a single apple is 50-cents, how much will that cost?”).
Road Trip = Classroom on Wheels From counting and categorizing license plates from different states to reading out road signs, the learning possibilities are endless when you hit the open road with your child. Give them a notebook to use as a travel journal to keep track of their findings. By keeping your children active and engaged while on the road, you are encouraging their critical observation skills and cognitive abilities.
One Hot Dog, Two Pounds of Strawberries… Cooking with your child is absolutely packed with learning opportunities (and flavor!). They can help and learn at the same time by reading recipes, using measurements and fractions, and calculating weights and volumes, plus they’ll learn valuable cooking and kitchen safety skills, too. However, teaching them to enjoy doing the dishes is a completely different lesson.
Planning Makes Perfect Have you ever thought about how much math and reading you use as an adult when planning a family trip? Encouraging your kids help with the logistics of your upcoming trip can be a wonderful and fun all-purpose learning activity. Instead of packing younger children’s clothes for them, get them involved by counting out how many shirts, shoes, bathing suits, etc. they are putting in their bag. For older children, use your vehicle’s fuel efficiency numbers and work with them to figure out how many miles you will travel, how many fuel stops you’ll require, etc.
To help parents and students across Greater Richmond reduce the effects of the dreaded Summer Slide, Huntington Learning Center of Richmond offers Learning Workshops for families at its Short Pump location. For more information, contact Larry Frank at 804-223-5000.