The excitement of summer vacation is second to none. Kids of all ages look forward to long, lazy days of playing outside, taking family trips or even spending time at camp. However, there are significant educational drawbacks to taking time off from all things school-related. In fact, 100 years of research shows that when students are subject to the same skills assessments both at the beginning and end of summer, they typically score lower on the end-of-summer test.
With limited school-based learning programs available during the off months, parents alone face the responsibility of preventing summer learning loss, whether through private summer learning programs or at-home educational activities.
Keep your kids’ skills fresh and help them start the new school year strong with these summer learning solutions:
High-quality enrichment programs take advantage of the special opportunities afforded by summer breaks. Groups are smaller, educational activities are more activity-based and students are given an opportunity to explore their particular talents and interests.
Though built-in free play and exploration are encouraged, select a summer learning program with structure. Make sure the curriculum includes a strong emphasis on math and reading. The best programs are familiar with the schedules of your child’s year-round classes, and they work to integrate programming with the concepts and skills students will face in the upcoming school year. Some programs offer tutoring in the areas your child needs extra help, which can give kids a big boost when they return to classes in the fall.
If you’re planning a do-it-yourself approach to summer enrichment, there are a variety of resources available. Quality homeschool materials available at your local library and online make it fun and easy to create your own math, reading, science and history lessons.
Focus activities on areas in which your student struggles, and incorporate hobbies, interests and talents into your plans. For example, select scenes from summer reading material and ask your budding actor to perform a short play; alternatively, encourage your artist to paint his or her interpretation of a book’s main theme. Partnering with other parents to create group activities is a great way to keep students engaged with their classmates, too.
For extra help, consider in-home or online tutoring. New technology has made access to online tutoring affordable and convenient, which is helpful when scheduling conflicts prevent regular in-person appointments –
and an online tutor still provides your child with the one-on-one attention he or she needs.