If you are worried about your child losing momentum with their studies during the summer months, you aren’t alone! Although every child learns at their own pace, a two-month break each year can really affect how much progress is made in the next schoolyear.
Research in this field shows that when classes are over, children experience a learning loss of an estimated 2.4 months for reading comprehension and 2.6 months for mathematics and computation. The math loss tends to be greater because, unlike the written word, it takes a more conscious effort to integrate math into everyday life.
The key to keeping skills sharp over the summer is regular practice. The challenge for parents is to insert a learning component into summer days – and more importantly, to do it with the acceptance and enthusiasm of their child. In addition to the usual summer activities, Kumon suggests the following tips for continued learning:
- Keep a Journal
- Write Postcards
- Family Finances
- Supplemental Education
- Family Bulletin Board
1. Keep a Journal
Encourage your child to keep a journal or diary of summer experiences
It wasn’t all that long ago that everybody kept a journal. Why not revive this tradition and encourage writing practice at the same time? Writing a journal is also an excellent exercise to stimulate self-reflection and allow kids an opportunity to better understand their feelings.
Take them to the dollar store to pick out their own journal notebook. Or, if pen and paper doesn’t get them excited, why not use technology? An old iPad or laptop nobody uses anymore could be a great writing tool for your child. Dust it off and let the journaling begin!
2. Write Postcards
Encourage Postcard Writing when You’re on Holiday
Postcards are a great choice for a few reasons:
- Because of limited space, your child needs to think carefully before writing
- They encourage sharing and story-telling
- They are a fun throwback in today’s digital world
If you receive an email, no matter how heart-felt, the “warmth-factor” goes through the roof with a post-card! Post-cards allow you to teach your children the value of paying attention to details like those mentioned above, as well as practice their creative writing skills. Two birds, one postcard!
3. Family Finances
Let Your Child Assist with the Budgeting on Holidays
Sometimes adults have a tendency to tell kids to stay out of adult stuff, but this can stifle motivation and curiosity. Why not encourage them to be involved and learn? You might be surprised by how sharp kids can be! Getting your kids involved in finances could be as simple as setting a goal. Maybe the goal is to stay within budget for food for a given day or during a run to the grocery store. Give them a budget and help them learn how to stick to it. Not only are their minds working on finance, but they get a taste of what responsibility entails as well.
4. Supplemental Education
Enrol your Child in a Supplemental Education Program
The summer months are an ideal time to continue or start a structured program such as Kumon. It is a minimal time commitment, requiring a bit of work each day on reading and/or mathematics, and the consistency helps children become more disciplined while improving their academic skills. Only 9.2% of children in North America continue learning throughout the summer, but summer learning could be your child’s chance to get ahead in a big way!
5. Family Bulletin Board
Clip-out Interesting News Stories and Post Them on the Refrigerator
If you are looking for a way to get your family to read and discuss the topic du jour, try turning your fridge into a bulletin board. It doesn’t need to be all serious business: clip out fun-stories and create a narrative with your family through the clippings. Again, we are doing double duty here: practicing reading and stimulating discussion. Soon your kids will be fighting for space on the fridge – don’t say we didn’t warn you!
Are you passionate about learning? Share this mini-infographic and remind your friends that summer ain't for slouching! (or click here to view it full size in another tab):
How do you keep your kids engaged during the summer? Let us know in the comments section below!