Summer brings joy to millions of American children due to one simple fact: no school. Unfortunately, these long summer breaks that kids love are troubling to their education. Without academic engagement, our kids are likely to experience summer brain drain.
During the summer, children can lose one to three months worth of learning. While reading skills are sometimes forgotten, mathematical skills suffer the most during summer. On average a student loses 2.6 months of mathematical skills during the break. This means that during the following school year, teachers must spend valuable time re-teaching. It’s said that 85 percent of teachers spend two weeks or more re-teaching forgotten skills at the start of every school year and 50 percent of teachers spend a month re-teaching skills.
Tutoring and summer school can reduce the amount of summer brain drain, but with the additional expenses, these costly courses aren’t an option for everyone. Studies show that children from low-income families experience the greatest summer learning loss, because they have less access to summer learning opportunities. In all, three-quarters of American school children do not participate in summer learning programs.
Fortunately, you don’t have to depend on summer school and tutoring courses to prevent summer brain drain.
Tips to Prevent Summer Brain Drain
You can help keep your kids academically active with a few Mindful Family suggestions and prevent summer brain drain.
- Start your own educational programs. You don’t need to send your child to a summer program to prevent brain drain. With the right tools, you can teach them yourself. You can try getting workbooks and flashcards to help prepare them for the next grade. Consider getting educational software/computer games. Or create your own book club where you read and discuss books as a family.
- Create crafts and experiments. Kids can learn more about science through experiments that they can do at home like testing density with honey, water, vegetable oil, and dish soap. They can also learn about nature and animals through crafts like creating bird feeders and bug collectors.
- Play games. Traditional broad games not only make great family time, but great educational opportunities as well. Play Life or Monopoly and let your kids be the bankers. Practice spelling skills with Scrabble or Boggle.
- Visit the libraries. Local libraries have tons of educational resources (books and DVDs) for you and your kids. They also have regular programs, classes, and courses for kids as well. Check with your local library for any news or events.
- Take educational trips and vacations. When you plan your summer vacation consider educational sites like Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Exploratorium in San Francisco, or the Grand Canyon. If you don’t plan on taking a vacation, consider an education day trip. You can go to the aquarium, the zoo or a local museum. They’ll learn a lot and have fun too.