The lazy days of summer are right around the corner and for most students it means trading in books and calculators for beach towels and video games. But, neglecting numbers and novels often leads to the dreaded summer brain drain.
The result? A sharp decline in students’ academic skills, and a widening of the achievement gap. According to various studies, students typically lose up to two months of learning during the summer and instructors spend the first couple of months teaching what was learned last school year rather than introducing new concepts.
To keep children from taking a step back in education, keeping their minds stimulated is crucial as we head into the summer months. Here are a few tips from Eye Level, a global leader in supplemental education, to keep their skills fresh while still promoting a fun-filled summer break:
· Learn at the library: Instead of beating the heat at the movies or the mall, head to the local library. From book clubs and storytimes, to poetry competitions and drawing contests, community libraries often host a number of fun activities and events for children of all ages and learning levels.
· Surround your child with the proper tools. Whether your child is fascinated by reading, science, music or the arts, when possible, give them access to the educational tools and apps that will nurture those interests at home. Surround them with books on their favorite subject, art supplies to fuel their creativity, or stock up on flashcards, word searches or crossword puzzles.
· Enroll your child in a supplemental education program. These programs are a great way to customize a curriculum for your children and provide them with an alternative outlet for ongoing education. Eye Level Learning Centers often have the child take an initial assessment to determine their academic placement, regardless of grade level, to determine the best program to meet their needs. Research learning centers in the area, especially ones that have low student-to-teacher ratios, as it’s important that children have individual attention.
· Summer Camp: Whether you are looking for a day camp or a summer sleep away camp, there are many specialty camps – science, math, art, music and computers, among many others – that feed specific interests and have academics built into the program.
· Get Ahead of the Game: Schedule time to meet with your child’s current teacher or teacher for the next grade, to learn specific topics that the child should work on. Whether mastering skills learned during the previous school year or getting a head start on upcoming lessons, the summer is a great time to develop skills.
· Vacation Education: Spending a week at the beach or heading to the mountains for vacation? Before you head out of town, find out what the destination has to offer and take advantage of the educational activities. Visiting historic sites and landmarks is a great way to teach children about history and geography.
· Plan a Day Trip: Schedule a day trip to a museum, zoo or farm. Interactive activities like these are a great way to promote learning and spending a day at a new place is exciting and often memorable for children.
· Gaming and Instruments: There are millions of video games and apps available to download on your phone, tablet or computer, and many provide great educational benefits. Spend some time researching games and apps that are best suited for both the learning needs and interests of your children. Learning a new musical instruments is also a great way to keep the mind sharp and make beautiful sounding music.
· Stimulate the Mind with Sports: Sports are a great way to sharpen math skills while encouraging children to enjoy what they love. For example, if your child loves baseball (which is full of statistics) have them follow their favorite team and keep the score or track home runs and runs batted in (RBI’s), and more.
· Keep a Journal: Encourage children to keep a journal of all of the memorable events that happen during the summer. Not only does this give them a place to share their thoughts and capture their memories, it helps further develop writing abilities.