Summer is time for relaxing vacations, outdoor activities and plenty of fun — but that doesn’t mean that kids should backslide academically. With a little effort, parents can help their children avoid learning loss.
By Daniel Breiner, Chief Marketing Officer of Wyzant.com
More than three out of four parents are concerned that their children will fall behind academically this summer, according to an online survey from WyzAnt.com — the nation’s largest network of private tutors and students.
In the survey, 77 percent of parents expressed concern about “summer learning loss,” which refers to the loss of academic skills and knowledge during summer vacation. Parents have reason to be concerned about their children’s academic skills waning over the summer months.
Nearly 100 years of research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the start of a new school year than they did at the end of the prior year, according to the National Summer Learning Association. On average, students lose 2.6 months of math competency and struggle to maintain reading levels, with the greatest losses in math and spelling.
To help families incorporate fun, educational activities into their children’s everyday lives this summer, WyzAnt surveyed more than 1,000 independent tutors, asking for effective, in-home strategies that will help children avoid summer learning loss. The following 5 activities are a combination of the most common and unique recommendations.
Read, read, read!
Ninety-five percent of tutor respondents suggested that consistent reading was the best method to avoid losing academic competency during summer vacation. Try to set aside reading time each day and encourage your child to choose a topic of interest so he/she will stay engaged. Even if the reading material is non-academic, consistent reading will help keep cognitive skills sharp.
Turn everyday activities into lessons
Even the most mundane daily activities can be made into learning experiences. “Students can count change, figure out tips and calculate taxes,” suggests Diana Gaither, a private tutor from Dunkirk, Maryland who lists her services on WyzAnt.com. Take the time to review your child’s calculations and correct and explain any errors made in detail.
Review material from the previous school year
Particularly with math and science subjects, students spend the first few weeks in class reviewing material covered during the previous year. Help your child get a head start and begin the school year with confidence by honing previously acquired skills. Students can review class notes, exams and handouts, either independently or with the help of a family member or private tutor. If a subject was particularly troublesome, spend extra time with your child or hire a local professional who can pinpoint problem areas and present the material in a format that is easy for your child to comprehend.
Turn computer time into learning time
Before your child uses the computer for entertainment purposes, have him/her complete an education exercise online. There are thousands of productive educational games, videos and lessons available online in virtually any subject. While each exercise may take no more than a few minutes to complete, there will be a cumulative effect if your child completes a new exercise each time he/she sits down to use the computer.
Take a road trip!
Not everyone can go on a vacation or take a road trip this summer, but if you can, let your child help you plan it. Plot the route together and research fun activities and landmarks to visit along the way. Have your child measure the distance between each stop and calculate estimated travel time and gas mileage.
WyzAnt.com is an online marketplace for private tutors. WyzAnt’s network includes more than 65,000 active private tutors nationwide in subjects that range from math and science to test preparation and music.