What’s the Summer Slide?
Summer vacation is often a child’s favorite time of the year. They can sleep in, watch television, play with friends, and go camping. With all these activities, children often don’t spend much time on academics. They become victims of the so-called Summer Slide. That is to say, and they fall behind in academic abilities as much as 2-3 months.
Unfortunately, that regressive summer slide is most prominent in the subjects of math and reading, and many kids enter the next school year at a disadvantage.
Students lose an average of one month of academic-calendar learning each summer some lose as many as 2-3 months worth, contributing to an even more pronounced achievement gap. While some kids do spend time reading over the summer, very few keep up with their math skills. With a few easy tips, you can help make sure your child has a great summer and is ready for the next school year.
1) Look for Programs at Your Local Schools and Library
Many schools and libraries offer free or low-cost summer programs for kids. You may be able to find a day class or program that your child will enjoy that will help them stay up to date on their reading and math. Most local libraries also have summer reading programs. These programs encourage children to read a variety of books giving them a fun excuse to frequent their local library.
The programs offered aren’t limited to elementary-aged school children; most libraries also offer programs for teens that motivate students to read and discuss literature. In addition to various reading programs, some libraries provide yoga classes, slam poetry, and more.
2) Using Math and Reading within the Context of Other Activities
As a parent, it helps to show your child all the ways that math and reading are essential in everyday life. The key to this one is not to make it evident that you’re incorporating a lesson; after all, do you want to work when you’re on vacation??
Make it fun; if you are cooking, you can let your child help with the measuring, double a recipe or reduce a recipe in half or thirds with their help, which will help them learn fractions in a practical situation.
Cooking can also be an excellent opportunity to discuss time and temperature, even conversions for metric or Celsius. Have your child read directions and recipes to you, or let them create a recipe of their own, figure out the cost of preparing it for the family or their friends. They learn how to budget for food and understand the price per serving– something they will definitely use later in life!
Take your kids grocery shopping with you, have them help you stay on budget by mentally tallying the items in the cart as you go. If you have more than one child, make it a game to see who can get the closest to the correct dollar amount at checkout, (without using their smartphones!).
Perhaps your child has a profound love of sports, talk about statistics and how they relate to sports like baseball. Explain the batting averages of different players and how those averages are calculated. Create your own backyard Olympic style sports games and measure long jumps and time sprints.
3) Use Games and Computer Programs
There are a variety of computer games and software that help children with their school activities. Your child’s school may even have a subscription to a learning website that your child can you use at no cost. Some may also be accredited to count as replacements for high school courses, such as learning another language.
Encourage your child to work on these programs for at least a few minutes a day. It takes little time to give kids a significant boost in grades. Make sure that not all your child’s learning takes place in front of a screen though. Play card games and dice games with your child to have them work on matching and math skills. Read and make up stories together using Storybots.
4) Model a Lifelong Love of Learning
Children emulate what they see and hear, so take the time to show your children how important learning is to you. Mention an interesting thing you just learned and tell your child where you learned it. For example, did you know that Babe Ruth often wore a cabbage leaf under his cap to keep his head cool when he played baseball? He changed it every two innings.
Encourage them to find weird facts on their own to share.
Let your child see you balance your checkbook or make a budget. Read for pleasure and mention to your child what books you enjoyed when you were their age.
Summer can be a time for explorative learning for children. Luckily, it doesn’t have to cause them to be behind when school starts again. Show your child that fun and learning aren’t mutually exclusive!