How can I help my kids prevent summer learning loss?
It’s summertime. Who doesn’t love summertime? It’s a time to be out in the sun, play outside with friends, learn a new skill, go to camp, go overseas on vacation with family, not worry about school! While every student deserves a break during the hot summer months, a concern for many parents is that they’ll lose the information they gained throughout the school year.
Whether they just don’t retain what they’ve learned or are out of practice on a particular skill, there are ways that parents can help their children to avoid this situation. Summer is a great opportunity for students to strengthen their skills so that when the new school year comes back around, they’ll be ready to take it on and be successful!
Set aside time for learning at a cadence of your choice
Of course, the first step is making the time, and getting your child on a schedule. It will be much harder to get them to commit to learning over the summer if they aren’t on a schedule. Who wants an impromptu study session when they could be in the pool, or at the mall? Getting a consistent schedule going, whether you’d like it to be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly, is the first step. It will ensure that your child knows the expectations and can have it in their mind that they have a task to complete today before going to the beach or playing basketball with friends!
Depending on whether you want to go for the more literal approach to learning with worksheets and lessons, or integrate learning into games and activities, having set cadences and times for these “activities” is a great way to get going.
Assess and adapt to your child’s needs
Some students may struggle in math, some in language, while some struggle in reading. Whatever it may be, a good strategy would be to figure out what areas your kids are struggling the most. Did they get a bad grade in their math class? Did a particular teacher mention they might need extra help with reading comprehension, or in Spanish? From there, you can target those areas over the summer to help them get back on track!
Summer is the perfect time to spend just 15-20 minutes a day working on the areas that they are struggling in and helping them get on pace with other students.
Maintain their math skills
There are a lot of possibilities for helping your child develop and maintain their math skills because math is everywhere! Momentum Learning shares some great tips in detail for maintaining math knowledge and avoiding the “summer slide”, but I will summarize some of them for you here:
- Cook with your kids! – This is great because cooking always involves taking measurements, adding ingredients up, planning for the timing of different parts of a meal, etc. They won’t even know they’re practicing math when doing it!
- Play games with math. – Some great examples of games that involve a healthy amount of math are Monopoly, Mancala, and Scrabble. These games involve active strategy and planning ahead, so they make for great math exercises! A bonus with Scrabble is that they can build their vocabulary, as well!
- Take your kids shopping with you. – No, we don’t mean to go to the mall to buy new clothes or a new video game. The grocery store will do! Have them compare prices, find a better deal on similar products, or figure out how much things will cost.
- Take them to a baseball game. – Baseball is famous for having a lot of math involved in the game. In fact, there’s a whole field of study for it! Baseball games usually hand out a box sheet, where you can fill in stats throughout the game. This is a great way for your kids to keep tabs on the game, and constantly be thinking about numbers while doing a fun activity.
There are of course plenty of other opportunities for helping your child keep up with their math skills over the summer. These options are some of the more active and exciting activities rather than doing number sheets or practice problems.
Improve reading comprehension
Hopefully, your child is participating in the summer reading that the school assigns! On top of that, there are other ways to engage your child in reading comprehension activities to make sure they don’t lose those reading skills over the summer. Get them reading any way that you can, whether it’s comic books, graphic novels, a history book, or even a great series like Harry Potter! You can even read it, too, so you can discuss what you both thought after each chapter or section. This will keep them engaged, and also help them to recognize certain points they may have missed, and how they can read more thoroughly moving forward. Some popular book series’ we recommend are:
- Harry Potter (7 books)
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians (5 books)
- The Chronicles of Narnia (7 books)
- A Wrinkle in Time (5 books)
- Holes (2 books)
There are plenty more, as well as our summer reading list to pull from. Collaborative reading is a great way for them to stay engaged and actively understand and comprehend what they’re reading.
Keep a journal, or write creatively!
Another important thing to do is help your child keep their writing skills over the summer. How can you get them to practice writing in a way that would be meaningful to them? Well, there are a few options!
- Have them keep a journal. – With a journal, they can document their summer, things they are doing that they enjoy, what their thoughts and feelings are, etc. This will get them to continuously write throughout the summer, and get plenty of practice.
- They can produce poems or short stories. – To get their creative juices flowing, they can practice writing short stories about a topic they’re interested in, or write poems that follow certain guidelines (like a Haiku!). This will help them maintain their writing skills, and give them work that they will be proud of!
- Have them send letters from camp. – If your kids go to sleepaway camp, have them write to you each week to tell you about what they did that week. It can be about what sports they’ve done, if they met any new friends, learned a new skill, or anything like that! If your kids don’t go to camp, they could also write letters to relatives, telling them about their summer.
Download some iPad educational games
In another post, we shared our favorite iPad apps and website for lower school students. There are plenty of apps available for continued education that are interactive and fun. These games make learning feel more exciting than daunting, and more like an activity than sitting and learning! Some of our favorites are:
- Motionleap by Lightricks makes your photos move!
- Code.org for engaging computer science lessons.
- Epic – Kids’ Books & Reading for interactive reading and activities to improve their reading comprehension.
- DuoLingo for practicing a language of their choice, or what they’re learning in school.
These apps and websites are packed with activities, games, videos, and lessons that are intended to be fun, and engaging for students. They will surely keep them occupied while they are also having a good time, and learning a lot!
Fuel their passions
And lastly, fuel their passions! What are they really excited about? What things did they want to learn during the school year that they just didn’t have time for? Maybe they want to learn how to swim, or ride a bike, or how to code. Maybe they want to build an RC car with their dad, or go fishing on the weekends! Summer is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill, and to help your child keep a consistent schedule for it. You never know what aspects of their hobbies or interests can spill over into other subjects like math and language arts! Oftentimes, the best way to learn something is to find out how it fits into the things you love to do. Make sure to provide opportunities to your children for doing what makes them happy, and you can come up with a lot of ways to incorporate learning into those things.
Help Your Kids Prevent Summer Learning Loss
These tips should give you some ideas to get started on helping your young students prevent summer learning loss, and return in the Fall sharp and ready to go! Summer is a great time to learn and improve, while also making plenty of time for all of the things that students look forward to. Camp, outdoor activities, and family time are the best parts, but using small amounts of time wisely can go a long way in your child’s academic development!