Summer enrichment is traditionally considered to be a great way to expose students to new or more advanced areas of learning during the long summer vacation break. No argument there.
But the right kind of summer enrichment program can play another significant role in a student’s academic success and that is in helping prevent summer learning loss.
Is summer learning loss real? Several studies indicate that it is. Here are a few generally-accepted facts:
- Yes, on average, students’ achievement scores decline over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning
- Declines are sharper for math than for reading
- The extent of loss tends to be larger at higher grade levels
Gaining a consensus on solutions to the summer learning loss phenomenon is a little more challenging. For example, there are varied opinions on the effectiveness of school-based summer enrichment programs. Advice to help younger students maintain during the summer include the following suggestions:
- Go to the library with your child, and find books that capture his interest and help him stretch his reading skills.
Set aside some time to review mathematics concepts — and make it fun.
Take those trips to museums, zoos, and nature sites. But don’t merely attend. Help children enjoy hands-on experiences and engage in family conversations.
Let kids explore interests that don’t fit into the standard, school-year curriculum
THE ANTIDOTE TO SUMMER LEARNING LOSS
Let’s turn to the SuperCamp summer enrichment, or summer learning gain, solution. The gain comes through a combination of two key things unique to our summer enrichment camps:
- The new learning and life skills the students who attend SuperCamp acquire, which propels their learning forward.
- The added motivation, confidence and inspiration they return home with, which empowers them to take control of their own learning and future.
Students at SuperCamp gain an understanding of how the mind approaches learning. This understanding of the how, and the why behind the how, can have a significant effect on a student’s performance. They begin to learn, comprehend and recall information more easily. Studying becomes a much easier task once a student identifies their personal learning style and incorporates techniques unique to that style.
The highly orchestrated positive environment that students encounter at our summer enrichment programs allows them to grow personally as well as academically. By doing so, this spurs the growth in self-confidence and motivation that ultimately elevates their learning as much as the new learning skills themselves do.
Then there are the specific life skills, which also create a “gain” on the academic side, as well as the personal side of life. Students learn new communication techniques that help with peer, parent and other relationships. They learn how to collaborate more effectively, enhancing their ability to participate constructively in group undertakings. At the same time, they learn about the traits that make for a good leader; another life skill that is equally beneficial for them as students and as adults.
SuperCamp provides young people with clarity on how to set and reach goals. They learn that no obstacle is insurmountable as long as there is a commitment to the ultimate goal and an effective step-by-step process to pursuing the goal. Related to achieving goals is the confidence that our campers gain by moving out of their natural comfort zones.
THE ROLE OF THE 8 KEYS OF EXCELLENCE
The 8 Keys of Excellence is another component of the summer enrichment boys and girls receive by attending SuperCamp. Without going into great detail on the definitions of the 8 Keys, which are outlined in depth in other SuperCamp blog posts and on the 8Keys.org website, consider the impact these eight character principles have on a young person’s personal enrichment, character and attitude toward an approach to their academics:
- Integrity – Match behavior with values. Demonstrate your positive personal values in all you do and say. Be sincere and real.
- Failure Leads to Success – Learn from mistakes. View failures as feedback that provides you with the information you need to learn, grow, and succeed.
- Speak with Good Purpose – Speak honestly and kindly. Think before you speak. Make sure your intention is positive and your words are sincere.
- This Is It! – Make the most of every moment. Focus your attention on the present moment. Keep a positive attitude.
- Commitment – Make your dreams happen. Take positive action. Follow your vision without wavering.
- Ownership – Take responsibility for actions. Be responsible for your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. “Own” the choices you make and the results that follow.
- Flexibility – Be willing to do things differently. Recognize what’s not working and be willing to change what you’re doing to achieve your goal.
- Balance – Live your best life. Be mindful of self and others while focusing on what’s meaningful and important in your life. Inner happiness and fulfillment come when your mind, body, and emotions are nurtured by the choices you make.
In summary, while summer learning loss is a reality for most students, parents don’t need to over-react by sending their son or daughter off to a math class in summer school or a series of intense remedial courses, which will drain them even more by the time the fall semester begins.
A 6-day or 10-day SuperCamp summer enrichment program can and will work wonders and will leave your son or daughter with plenty of summer fun time to enjoy. Plus, SuperCamp’s year-round support, in the form of twice-monthly “Refresher” e-newsletters and videos and a “Parent Handbook,” keep the summer learning gain going and going.
You can find out more about SuperCamp and our 2018 summer programs held on U.S. college campuses at SuperCamp.com or by calling an enrollment consultant at 800-228-5327.
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been a part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional school and homeschool became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, editor, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children in Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience to help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected].