For most kids, the summer months mean that it is finally time to step away from the classroom for a few months and put your brain on “standby” mode. However, this may not be something that parents are happy with. Fortunately, there are ways to keep your kids’ brains active even as they are taking an extended break from school.
We have all heard about the research and evidence that points to a loss of learning in the summer months. Studies have shown that students lose a portion of what they learned in school over the summer, and teachers often have to spend a sizeable portion of the next school year re-teaching what has been forgotten, as a result. This can really be costly with certain subjects. Math in particular is a victim of summer learning loss, as students can’t move on with new material until they have mastered what has already been covered.
What can we do to make sure that kids are still using their minds during their summer breaks, then?
While many parents instinctively think that tutors or summer classes are the answer, that may not be the best possible idea. Although there is no denying that these strategies are better than doing nothing at all, many believe that kids should be learning in a different way during the summer months. After all, while you don’t want your kids’ brains to be inactive, you also don’t want to burn them out on school-based learning. That’s why reading for fun or other types of stimulating activities are often recommended.
This isn’t as difficult as you might think. Since there is no school in the summer, trips to museums or other fun locations where learning can take place are a great idea. Furthermore, getting your kids involved with summer programs in art, music, or other similar hobbies can be fruitful. Even having good conversations with your kids will help them to keep their minds active.
Make use of the accumulated knowledge during summer breaks.
One important concept to keep in mind is to have your kids use the knowledge that they have accumulated in fun and interesting ways. These types of real world applications will cement their knowledge and promote a very real understanding of what they have learned. This is particularly true in areas such as math or science, where practical knowledge can often trump theoretical knowledge in terms of how easy it is to remember what you’ve learned.
Depending on the age of your child, any activity can be an opportunity. Whether you work on math while you are at the store, catalog bird life outside in your backyard, go for long hikes on trails and talk, or get your child involved in new sports, there are plenty of reasons to converse with your kids and help them to contextualize their new knowledge. The key is to challenge them but avoid frustrating them in the process. This is where talking slightly above your child’s level of interaction is important, rather than talking down to them.
For all the strengths of school-based learning, it can be hard for some children to remember what they’ve learned in any meaningful way if they have simply been listening to a teacher talk or reading in their textbooks. Real world learning is great for reinforcing all kinds of concepts.
Furthermore, giving your child a break from the same style of learning that they’ll encounter during most of the year will help them recharge their batteries and be ready for the next school year. In the meantime, you won’t be allowing your children to have a stagnant summer where they aren’t learning or growing in any meaningful way.
You can even encourage a little video game or computer time, with a couple of guidelines. First of all, do not let kids go overboard in terms of technology time. Second of all, try to guide that time to be used in a meaningful way. A little relaxation with a non-educational game or program is fine, but some educational software should be balanced in, as well.
Finally, don’t forget to let your child have a say in the activities he or she takes part in. This will allow the child to be more invested in the activity and take ownership over what he or she is doing. It will also ensure that a full effort is given and the maximum benefit is realized, as a result.
|The information presented is not intended to, and does not in anyway, constitute or replace a medical advice, and it should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem. The information is provided for educational purposes only, and is based upon the authors’ personal experiences or point of view. If you think you have a health problem, please consult a qualified medical professional..|