Summer break is finally here and you and your family are most certainly ready for relaxation! Especially if you’ve just gotten through the trials and tribulations of homeschooling your school-aged children for the past couple of months. But before you put your feet up and let your child loose – consider the dreaded “summer slide” and its long-term effects on your child’s education.
The “summer slide” is a term frequently used to describe the learning loss that occurs during long summer or holiday school breaks. Just like adults, if children don’t practice a skill, they tend to lose it. The skills that are most frequently affected in this case are math and reading skills. Studies have shown that students lose between 20-30% of these skills over a summer break!
Besides losing skills that your child has learned over the year, studies have also shown that this summer slide can affect academic progress during the following year.
Here are some tips on how to help your child from slipping down the summer slide.
Encourage reading for enjoyment
Studies have shown that when children read for pleasure over the summer, they experience gains in reading performance. It’s also been shown that reading just six books over the summer can help prevent the summer slide in reading skills.
Now is not the time to push the classics. If comic books and mystery novels are what call the attention of your little one, by all means, let them read! Help them explore their local libraries and bookstores to find titles that seem interesting to them.
If your little one is struggling with creating a reading habit, set time aside during the day that’s dedicated to reading. Reading before bedtime is a great way to help them wind down and keep them away from screens which can stimulate their brain and keep them awake longer.
Help them choose learning games
If you ask your child if they want to play a learning game, you’ll probably be met with a scrunched up nose and crossed arms. But if you ask them if they’d like to do a puzzle, crossword, or play a card game, they’ll most likely reply with an enthusiastic ‘yes’!
You can help steer your child to the right type of game. Choose ones that are not only fun but provide a great chance for them to practice their logic and math skills.
If you want to provide more structured support, try Learn@Home. Through interactive, game-based lessons and one-on-one support, your child will practice and perfect important math and reading skills.
Get them outside
While getting outside may not directly help your child practice math and reading skills over the summer, it has been shown that nature helps the mind be more creative.
Encourage your children to be curious about the world around them. If they are interested in bugs, get them to help you in the garden, exploring the symbiotic relationship between plants and insects. Or take field trips where your child can learn about a site’s historic importance and then research it further on their own time.
Keeping your child’s young mind agile and active will help them avoid falling into the summer slide and prepare them for academic success in the following year.