As the school year comes to and end, many parents in Richmond start thinking about ways to keep their children occupied during the long summer months. Day camps, pool passes and neighborhood play dates are on everyone’s mind but what will happen to all the important information that children learned in school that year? What many parents don’t know is that kids experience a phenomenon called “summer learning loss”.
Essentially, they forget a lot of what they learned in the previous school year over the summer months. In fact, studies have shown that kids lose more than two and a half months worth of math skills in the summertime. For kids that were already struggling in math, this means that they will start off the next school year even further disadvantaged. And it’s not just math. Overall, kids lose an average of 1 month of learning in other subjects during the summer.
Think of athletes. Imagine if they stopped training for 2-3 months in the year. You would expect that when they return to their sport, that they would experience a lag in performance. The brain is no different. It needs to be exercised.
So how can you keep your kids learning over the summer? Here are a few ideas.
• Read together – Visit a library and join summer reading clubs through Henrico & Chesterfield Counties. Find some books with topics that interest your child so that they are really engaged in reading. Read the books when they do so you can discuss them together.
• Explore – Visit local museums including the Richmond Childrens Museum, zoos and historical sites such as Maymont and Henricus. Help your child learn about history and the world they live in.
• Menu Planning – plan your meal, write out recipes, ingredients/groceries, and send out invitations to family and friends. Ask your guests to write a review of your fine cuisine and make sure to write a review of Mom and Dad’s next creation. These activities can reinforce math, reading, writing and organizational skills.
• Tutoring – Studies find that a third party, objective source can be more effective with helping students with their homework than parents. Enroll in summer tutoring programs. For children that are struggling academically, summer can be the perfect time to address it with a customized tutoring program.
• Play – Buy mind engaging games that focus on interactivity for your children. Encourage them to invite friends over to play. Some children are more responsive to positive reinforcement so build a reward system into a game that requires learning, such as memorization or math.
These ideas will help your children build up more confidence, and prepare them to start the new school year with a bang.