Your student might be overwhelmed with finals, AP exams, or the SATs and ACTs right now, but believe it or not, summer vacation is right around the corner. While this much-needed break is anticipated by students and parents alike, it's important to keep in mind the dangers of summer learning loss and how best to avoid it. The National Summer Learning Association has stated that "all young people experience learning losses when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer." Math, reading, writing, and even test-taking skills suffer during this 3-month absence from school. However, this is not to say that students must spend their whole summer in a classroom or studying textbooks instead of going to camps and taking family trips. Here are 3 simple tips to help your children enjoy their summer and keep their brains sharp at the same time:
1.) READ! It's no secret that we at Tutoring For Success love to encourage reading for pleasure, but that's just because there are so many benefits to this one simple activity. Research has shown that reading not only improves students' vocabulary, but also comprehension, spelling, writing, and even overall test scores. It also stimulates the imagination, and introduces them to new ideas, concepts, and cultures that they might otherwise be unfamiliar with. If your child dislikes reading, it could be because she associates it with homework and therefore school. Allow her to choose her own reading material so it feels less like a chore. Fiction, Non Fiction, graphic novels, magazines, articles and blogs all count as appropriate reading-for-pleasure material! Remember: the more a student reads, the more fluent he becomes, and thus the easier and more enjoyable reading will be. Practice is everything, in reading and in life!
2.) Explore interactive, hands-on learning. Your child is on a break from school, but that doesn't mean that learning has to stop. Summer is the perfect time for kids to explore subjects that interest them in ways that are different from what they do in school. Is your student interested in Science? Take a trip to a museum, nature center, or even to the garden in your own backyard. Cooking and baking are great ways to explore concepts relating to both chemistry and math. Art museums, zoos, and cultural centers make for fun (and oftentimes free) day trips, and of course, nothing beats a regular visit to your local library. Listen to your children and find out what interests them; if they are able to choose what they learn about, they will feel more in control of their education and thus be more likely to enjoy it!
3.) Work with a tutor. This is the best option for students who need more structure in their summer schedules. Not every child enjoys filling his vacation with camps and play dates, and that's perfectly fine, but beware of prolonged inactivity. Meeting with a regular tutor can help keep your student focused and learning throughout the break. A tutor will encourage your children to read, build their confidence, work with them on any problem areas, and help them be better prepared overall for the start of school in September. Summer is also the perfect time for high school students to prep for the SATs and ACTs without having to worry about additional homework. Even just a handful of tutoring sessions can make a big difference without demanding too much of your child's hard-earned vacation time.
Learning Loss should be taken seriously, but as you can see, there are plenty of fun and easy ways to prevent it while your child is out of school. What are some of your favorite ways to keep your mind sharp during the summer? Let us know in the comment section below!