Getting the Most Out of Your Summer Learning

Summer learning loss is a real problem, and it’s one that is becoming more well-known each year.  Though students work diligently throughout the year to enjoy two summer months off, those months of free time often lead to regression when school begins again.  Statistics have shown that kids can lose as much as two months of math computation and reading comprehension skills over summer break! Students will often find themselves unable to recall concepts they had mastered at the end of the year, and a recap for the first few weeks is almost always necessary.  Studies have even shown that students score better on standardized tests when taken at the end of the school year than at the beginning of the fall semester.

While we aren’t suggesting to cut summer break and school year-round (though that does have benefits), we do think it’s important to maintain a level of education and studying through the summer months.  We still want to keep summer as fun as possible for your kids and to avoid anything rigorous or overly scheduled. The goal is for summertime to still feel like a fun break, all while encouraging their minds to keep active.

Here are three effective ideas for utilizing your summer months to avoid learning loss as best as you can.

  • Review the rough patches.  Look back over the school year and identify which areas could be strengthened.  There will always be at least something that could use a little reinforcement learning or studying, even if your students did well enough to get past it during the year.  Going over those rough patches again until they are smooth can provide a stronger foundation to your student for starting the next grade in the fall semester.  Try to keep it fun, though. Recognize the fact that your student did succeed before, and this time around it’s just for polishing. No one wants to spend their summer days agonizing over problems.  Work on it a little at a time and try to keep a relaxed pace or schedule.
  • Teaching the neglected classes. We all know how easy it is for certain subjects to fall to the wayside during the school year.  The fall semester begins with the best intentions, but by the time November or even January graces the calendar, there is often simply too much to balance.  Some of the most common subjects to fall neglected would be art, music, and foreign language. Thankfully, summer is the perfect time to give those subjects another whirl.  Even if you only select a single topic, it’ll help immensely with keeping your kids’ minds active and learning. So dust off those art history books, pull out the violin or download Duolingo.  Your fall semester will thank you for it!
  • Work through a summer reading challenge.  Reading is one of the best ways to keep the mind active.  Sometimes, it can be hard to find time for reading extra books during the school year in addition to the literature for various courses.  Because of that, summer can be a great time to join a fun reading challenge. Not only is it exciting to compete against siblings or other friends, but it’s a great chance to read books just for pleasure instead of fulfilling extra reading materials for a class.  Help your kids create a Goodreads list to work through, or even see what kind of summer reading challenges are offered at your local library!

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