Have you heard of the summer slide? It's not a ride at a water park. Instead, it's an educational problem that affects many, if not most, students. As they play, go to the beach, and relax over the summer vacation, students forget some of the lessons they learned during the previous school year.
The summer slide affects students of all ages, and it can set them back academically as much as two or three months. That's a lot of catching up to do in September.
Since mathematical concepts are sequential, the summer slide can be especially troublesome for math teachers. Fortunately, though, there are ways you can help your children get ready for a new year of math.
Hitting the Workbooks
During the summer, you might set aside time a few days each week to review this subject. If you have math workbooks at home — you can pick them up at stores that sell teacher supplies — you could take them out and solve problems with your kids.
Even doing just a few computations per session should keep your kids' skills sharp, especially if you focus on the concepts that they've struggled with the most.
Math Can Be Enjoyable
Another option is to sneak in math lessons in engaging ways. For example, you could play mathematical bingo. Start by pulling a math flashcard from a deck. The answer to its problem would be the bingo space that everyone covers. Continue this routine until someone wins.
You could interrupt card games on occasion by holding up two random cards and asking your children to add, subtract, multiply, and divide the numbers on the cards. You can search the Internet for additional logic and math puzzles to solve as a family.
Once you start finding ways of incorporating math into everyday life, you'll discover new ideas practically everywhere you look. The simple act of breaking apart a candy bar could become a lesson in fractions. Likewise, when you fill up measuring cups, you can discuss estimation, percentages, and ratios.
When you visit stores, amusement parks, and other venues, allow your children to be responsible for paying for your purchases. They can calculate how much your purchases will cost and how much they'll receive in change. As a bonus, children typically feel empowered and grown-up when they complete these duties.
If you have teenagers, you could have them research the stock market and “buy” a few stocks early in the summer and track their shares throughout the season. From time to time, ask them to predict how much money they'll have at different points in the future. These tasks can involve algebraic equations and other advanced forms of math. And if your kids are fascinated by this project, they might want to join a junior investing club.
Hop on LearnBop
Another option for students in grades 3 through 12 is LearnBop, a self-paced online supplementary program. Kids can watch step-by-step informational videos and work on problems. It gives users hints as needed, and if they get answers wrong, it'll show them the mistakes they made along the way. Thus, LearnBop builds confidence, and it's ideal for those who have trouble with math or are looking to accelerate their learning.
Developed by educational experts, LearnBop lets students and parents see how much progress has been made, and it praises kids for their concentration and persistence. Moreover, this program is so colorful, interactive, and dynamic that the time children spend on it flies by.
In sum, whether you're using low-tech tools like pencils or high-tech wonders like LearnBop, math makes a valuable addition to the sun and fun of summer. And by keeping math in the forefront of their minds, your kids will begin the new school year primed for mathematical success.