Will your child be ready to start a new school year in the fall? According to research, the answer is probably no.
Studies into summer learning indicate that after a summer spent lounging pool and beach side, chasing butterflies or playing video games, children are not as prepared to start a new school year, as they should be. It turns out that the idyllic image of summer pastimes is not so idyllic when it comes time to learn again.
In fact, teachers report that it can take months for students to get back into the swing of learning, putting them well into November before they are caught up again.
In the grand scheme of the school year, that’s a lot of wasted learning time, given that the average school year is has only 195 instruction days.
With crowded curriculum, the number of school vacations, and professional development days, and out-of-class days factored in, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for just learning. Students can afford to waste those important instruction days.
How Can You Help?
When parents ensure that their kids stay academically sharp over the summer, they are ensuring that their kids will be starting the new school year off with an advantage: there will be no let down—no ramp up time needed in the fall, because kids who are focused and ready in September will learn, integrate, and understand new material right away. This will allow them to make the most of each school day.
Kids don’t necessarily forget all the facts of the material they learned over the school year: it’s the process of how to learn that slips away. Students who maintain learning and thinking skills over the summer will be ready for success in September.
Here are some of the best ways that parents can help keep their kids’ learning momentum going this summer:
Grades 1 to 3
- Play games that require concentration and memory. Make a family journal for the holiday, and write in it every day. Talk about stories, books and TV shows. Don’t just let kids be passively absorbed while watching TV or movie. If watching a TV show or movie, discuss what happened. Ask questions. Challenge kids to think actively.
Grades 4 to 6
- During the school year, kids often find using an agenda challenging, so planning is a great skill to work on over the summer. Use a calendar to plan daily family activities and chores such as feeding the cat, going to the park, watering the flowers. Make it part of your life and make it fun.
- Another big challenge for this age group is writing. Create a family journal and write in it every day. Describe daily activities. Encourage reading by purchasing magazines. Write about what is being read.
Grades 7 to 8
- Create a summer research project. Go to the library or use the Internet to delve into your topic. Create an end goal and work toward it over the summer.
- Play strategy board games, such as chess, Clue, Risk and so on. Games that are competitive and yet require thinking are the best.
Oxford Learning provides supplemental education services across North America. It offers programs for young people from preschool through university, and its cognitive approach goes beyond tutoring to ignite a lifelong love of learning. Find out more at http://www.OxfordLearning.com.