Do you have a sneaky feeling that your child seems slower at mathematics at the end of the summer holidays? Do you worry that he might have forgotten what he learned last year during the break? Did you just put it down as laziness and lethargy to ‘get back to the routine?' While it is true that kids take a while to actually get their groove back after the summer break, studies have revealed every child is at the risk of ‘Summer Learning Loss.' So your gut feeling was right all along.
Here's why we need to take it seriously. Summer learning loss isn't a temporary phenomenon. Losses can accumulate over years, eventually resulting in students who perform below their grade level. Did you know that 2.6 months is the average learning loss per student in math and 2 months is the average in spelling?
Teachers spend 4-6 weeks in the new term to re-teach material that students have forgotten over the summer. Imagine the loss!
Studies have revealed 100% of students experience summer learning loss if they don't engage in educational activities over the summer and parents have a critical role to play in overcoming the gaps of the summer vacation.
Here's what you can do.
1. Pick up a book:
Do not think that because summer holidays have begun there is no need to touch the dreaded books. Read aloud stories to your child to improve their vocabulary. Catch your child when he or she is fresh in the morning and practice reading skills. Take a trip to the library. When on holiday, keep some story books handy. Young learners may get turned off by heavy encyclopedias, but books can still be fun!
2. Get Moving:
What a child may lose in academics, he may gain in weight by simply sitting around. During school time, physical activity is assured, but this may not be the case during the summer break. Take your child to the park. Enroll in a swimming class or a team sport. Take walks together. Get out there and get moving.
3. Learn from Life:
Summer holidays usually mean messier houses and more housework for parents. Take a leaf out of the Montessori philosophy and engage the child in ‘practical life skills'. Allow the child to take part in age-appropriate household chores be it dusting, preparing the salad, washing his cycle, setting the table etc. These daily tasks give the child a sense of belonging, a sense of achievement and go a long way in making your child independent and more confident. And of course, your child may say ‘Im bored' fewer times.
4. Embrace Technology:
While your child may gain nothing except a sore finger from playing Talking Tom all day, there are several wonderful educational apps that you can sign your child up for. There are online activities, offline worksheets, or suggestions for structured activities for all age groups in various subjects.
Harness all the tools around you, encourage summer learning in your child and bridge any learning loss and make your child ready for a new academic year.
As always, appy learning!