The summer brain drain is a well-documented phenomenon referring to the loss of academic learning that is experienced by the majority of students during the summer months. While the loss could be as a result of many different factors, the lack of sufficient learning opportunities during this period is what mainly contributes to the summer slide. So, what can you do to avoid the setback and ensure your children are prepared to take on fresh challenges once schools reopen?
Enhance Your Children’s Reading Skills
Experts report that reading for just 20 minutes a day is enough to keep students from regressing during the summer. Taking your children to the local library to check out books they’d be interested in, as well as summer reading groups they can join, is a great way to ensure they keep learning. If they aren’t as enthusiastic as you’d hoped, setting up a reading challenge (along with an incentive) could help encourage them. And if your local libraries don’t offer programs suitable for your kids’ level, you could ask the librarian to help them find appropriate reading materials. Keeping a good selection of interesting books around the house and scheduling a consistent reading period for your children could also make a huge difference over 3 months.
Feed Their Natural Curiosity
Kids are naturally curious about the world that surrounds them. Their curiosity is what fuels exploration, which then develops into a learning cycle that feeds on fresh discoveries. So if your children express interest in a particular area, encourage them to explore it further. Since they’ll want to learn more about the topics, you can help them research and find more information on whatever interests them. You could also use special toys to get your kids excited about other areas of learning, such as maths and science. With time, you’ll be able to cultivate a culture of interactive learning that encourages your children to explore new topics.
Spend Some Time Learning Together
All too often, parents unwittingly instill the notion that reading is a chore into the minds of their children. But if you want yours to treat reading as a priority, you need to lead by example. So start by making reading your own pastime; your kids will be more likely to follow if they see you doing it for pleasure. Sharing a book with your son/daughter on a regular basis will also help establish a love of reading, and a closer bond with them as well. Reading books aloud to your children can also work to enhance their comprehension skills, especially if you do it with grade-level and above material. To ensure the habit sticks, find ways to sneak books into all the fun activities you engage together with your kids.
With summer tutoring, you’ll be able to help your child retain the information they’ve already learned, while also catching up on some of the subjects they struggled with in the previous school year. It’s no surprise that math is the most frequent subject that students need help in. Whether it’s algebra, calculus, geometry or basic math, a summer tutor will be able to work with your child to see exactly where they need help, and then tailor a tutoring program to specifically fit their needs.
Incorporate Learning Into Everyday Tasks
There are plenty of learning opportunities in virtually all your regular activities. And with a long summer ahead, you have plenty of time to create teachable experiences for your kids. What really matters is to find something that will likely interest your child, and subtly injecting academic elements into it. Some of your options here include:
-Gardening: Teaching your kids how to take care of plants will not only expand their knowledge of agriculture, but also reinforce their math, health, science and art skills.
-Cooking: Showing kids how to prepare healthy meals will teach them crucial math skills as they work with recipes and serving sizes.
-Exploring your surroundings: Whenever you’re in a public area, take some time to read signs and plaques together with your child.
As a parent, you can’t afford to spend nearly 10 months of every year channeling lots of resources into facilitating the education of your children, only to abandon your investment each summer. This is why you need to ensure your kids continue learning throughout their summer vacations. So look for ways to keep them academically engaged, all while emphasizing that learning doesn’t stop the minute they leave their classrooms.