Summer learning loss is a major concern for parents of school-aged children– yet many parents are unaware of just how much a summer sans academics can set students back. Kids can lose up to two months of grade level mathematical skills and two months of reading skills just over the course of one summer. Left unaddressed, this loss of knowledge can accumulate and leave children vulnerable to permanently falling behind their peers.
Experts recommend that parents continue to engage in academic and extracurricular activities outside of the classroom throughout summer, but this is much easier said than done– especially for working parents! No matter your situation, the time-saving tips below will help you to give your your child the best shot at staying ahead of the class this summer:
1. Use the buddy system
The “buddy system” mentality shouldn’t just apply to your kids– chances are, there are other busy parents in your peer group who are just as worried about combatting learning loss. Take turns holding education-focused playgroups that incorporate key lessons from the previous school year in a fun and creative way. Your child will be thrilled to spend the day having a blast with friends, and you’ll save hours compared to trying to spend one on one learning time multiple nights a week.
2. Keep it fun
Summer should be all about fun and relaxation, not quizzes and book reports. In the same way that you sneak vegetables into your child’s favorite dish to make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need, get stealthy about learning by incorporating lessons into activities that your child already loves to do. Practice spelling out on the courts with a game of H-O-R-S-E, play “mad scientist” with some simple formulas (baking soda and vinegar volcano, anyone?), or have your child act out a scene with friends from a book on their summer reading list. Your children will not only have fun; they’ll be more likely to remember the lessons because of the unique experience you thought up. Added bonus: you maximize quality time by combining learning and play.
3. Find a professional
Not every great parent is a stellar teacher with an abundance of free time, and that’s perfectly okay! If your child isn’t taking to learning from good ‘ol Mom and Dad, or if your job requires you to work long hours, seek out a summer school course or professional tutor to help your kid stay on track. Sites such as Edutopia and MySummerCamps.com are great resources for locating quality group summer learning programs. If your child does best in a one-on-one or small group learning environment, check out TakeLessons.com– you can view hundreds of resumes and compare instructors in your area to find just the right instructor for your child’s unique needs. It also saves you time by facilitating payment via credit card at no additional cost to you, so you don’t have to get to the bank each time your child has a tutoring session. Regardless of the setting, connecting with an experienced education professional will ensure that your child starts off the school year on the right foot.
There are an infinite number ways to keep your child learning, but the most important thing is to do what fits best into your family’s lifestyle. Whether that means sharing in your kid’s summer reading list so that you can talk about symbolism, or finding a dedicated professional that makes learning fun, even the busiest mom and dad can keep their kids creatively engaged over summer with a bit of planning.
– Steven Cox is the CEO of TakeLessons, the nation’s largest platform for finding qualified and vetted instructors. At TakeLessons, students can discover new passions and get ahead academically by connecting with the perfect instructor in areas ranging from music, dance and acting to foreign languages, math and photography. Learn more at http://takelessons.com.