Students can lose up to a full grade level of learned knowledge over the summer. That means that when they return back to school in the fall, rather than a quick refresher on math and language arts, they are nearly starting from scratch. Now, we know what you’re thinking… “if that’s the case, then how does my child ever progress?” Well, the knowledge is still in their brain, it just has to be reactivated and the missing pieces put back in place. The student will progress but reactivating prior knowledge takes time and can be frustrating for both the student and the teacher. So, what can parents do over the summer to keep the knowledge from the prior year fresh and active? We thought you’d never ask… here is a list:
1. Get your student a tutor.
This is probably the best way to keep a student’s neurons firing on full blast. Having your child meet with a tutor, even once a week, will help keep what they learned during the school year at the forefront of their minds. When they return to class in the fall they will already be ahead of the game. Another side benefit of summer tutoring is that your student will hold on to some of the structure of the school year so that when fall comes, that adjustment period from summer fun to summer done, isn’t so bad.
2. Play mind games with your child.
We aren’t suggesting that you use reverse psychology to make them eat vegetables or change the clocks so that they go to bed early… not those kind of mind games!! But do your best to turn learning into a game. If you plan to take a road trip this summer, look for different license plates and have your student look up an interesting fact about each state and have them spell the capitol. They can use their phone to look it up (you know they’ll be on that thing anyway!!). If you are flying somewhere, have your student keep track of the time the plane takes off and the time it lands then have them look up the amount of miles traveled from your home to your destination and calculate the miles per hour that you flew. Again, have them use their device… you’re paying for it, might as well get some educational benefit from it!
3. Cook with your child.
Cooking is a skill that helps your child gain independence but it also incorporates math and reading. Have your student read the recipe and get out all the ingredients as well as the appropriate measuring cups and spoons. Have them double the recipe just to get some extra math fun in the mix. Maybe they will really like cooking and next Mother or Father’s Day you won’t have eggshells in your pancakes (added bonus!!).
4. Have your child keep a journal.
Writing is becoming a lost art in this age of technology. Help your student to improve his or her handwriting as well as encourage their use of sentence structure and advanced level vocabulary. Encourage your student to write down their feelings, experiences, sights, smells, tastes, victories, and failures of their summer escapades. Not only could journaling become a great tool for them it will also be a great memoir to look back on in the years to come.