Combatting summer learning loss is a yearly endeavor for parents of school-age children. There are several great articles I found with a simple Google search and I’ll provide you with links to some of my favorites at the end of this post. Here are 5 things you can do to prevent “summer slide” with your kids.
- Daily routine:
It’s so important to get kids in the habit of learning every day. Experts recommend 15-30 minutes of reading and 3-4 math problems each day at least. Some parents buy or make workbooks for their kids to use, and some go online every day to find things, or make things up on their own. Whatever you choose to do is great, as long as you build it into a regular routine. Many of the articles I read suggested making charts or calendars so kids can easily track what they’ve done.
- Personalize it:
Kids will need different amounts of help in different subjects. While reading and math are important every day, it’s a good idea to evaluate what areas a child had a harder time with during the last school year, and finding ways to help that child with that subject.Additionally, it’s great to encourage kids to explore other interests they have that may not be covered in school curriculum. When I was in elementary school I obsessed over Ancient Egypt and the Titanic. My parents helped me find lots of books on the topic, and even a few documentaries. It was so fun to learn about these subjects that we only ever briefly touched in school.
- Plan for fall during the summer:
If possible, meet with teachers during the summer to find out what curriculum your child(ren) will be studying the next year. Judy Willis, M.D., a neurologist who became an educator teaches parents, “If kids have heard the words they are going to hear or have some prior knowledge about the subject waiting in their brains, they will be more likely to make a lasting link.”
- Using available tools:
Field trips can be a great resource for helping kids learn during the summer, because they get excited about being able to see things they’re learning about. Opportunities like BYU’s life science museum (Monte L. Bean Museum) and museum of paleontology are great free opportunities. Thanksgiving Point and The Living Planet Aquarium are other nearby options, though they do cost money.The Internet is a fantastic tool! Even if you don’t leave your house, you and your children can explore the world with the click of a mouse or by touching a screen. There is so much information at kids fingertips, and search engines like Google can help kids get a great education and see things from all around the globe.
- Fun and Games are important too!
Kids benefit from having time to play. Structured play can be good; a few articles I read mentioned the benefits of playing word games like scrabble, or using flash cards, some suggested playing school and letting kids take turns playing teacher. Other role-play or acting games can be great for kids imaginations and creative development; playing with money, for example, can be a great chance for kids to utilize math skills in practical ways. Unstructured play is critical for children. This gives them time to explore the world around them and structure their experience.With all of the playtime, it’s important to set a balance with kids and technology. Different families will choose different rules regarding daily technology use, but experts encourage having conversations and deciding what that will look like in your home. Will there be specific times when everyone puts screens away? How much time on the computer, playing video games, or watching TV will kids have each day? Are there chores or other tasks that need to be done first? Helping kids strike the balance between technology use and time away from screens will help them be more creative with playtime, and appreciate what interpersonal experiences offer as well.
If you have questions or want more specific ideas, please let us know! If you’d like to share things that have worked for you and your family in combatting summer learning loss, please comment! We’d love to be able to share these great ideas. We offer a summer program at our Provo Clubhouse that kids can participate in that also helps in the fight against summer learning loss. Great futures start here, and summer is a great time to work on building foundations for great futures through learning activities!
Some of my favorite articles