With taking a test and other school-related scenarios being some of the top stresses for children, it’s no wonder they are so eager and ready for summer break. In support of their excitement, having the time to get outside and allow kids to be kids is vital to their development and mental health. However, over the course of these couple of months, there is dramatic summer learning loss that occurs in all academic areas.
Of particular concern is the loss in math skills, as most students lose approximately two months’ worth of math skills during the course of a summer. This means that when your student begins school again in the fall, the first two months are spent playing catch up to get back to where they left off in the spring. As you can imagine, this is stressful for both the student and the teacher, as math is a subject which continually builds upon each concept.
Additionally, with the evolving adoption of national math standards across the country, teachers feel more pressure than ever to ensure that students are keeping up with the expectations. This allows for even less time during the school year to teach last year’s material and increases the necessity of students beginning the school year knowing everything they did, and were tested on, at the end of the previous year. There is simply no time in the new school year for re-teaching, so students who have experienced summer math loss are left struggling to learn both old and new concepts.
So what does this mean for your student? Since your child needs a break from school but realistically can’t afford the academic loss that comes with it, what is the solution?
Balance and moderation is the answer, throughout both the school year and summer.
1) Allow your children the necessary free time and outside play to cultivate their social skills and minimize their stress levels. The fresh air, sunshine, and exercise will do your child’s body good and will help distract them from the stresses of learning.
2) Keep math learning fun through creative ideas to remain engaged in retaining fresh math content, without them even knowing they’re doing schoolwork. This is especially important during the summer months when you will likely encounter the most resistance to learning.
3) Talk to your kids consistently about how they are feeling. Are they overwhelmed? Are there any other situations contributing to their stress and frustration?
4) Regular communication with your children’s teachers is extremely important. You should discuss with them areas in math where your child is both struggling and exceling. Encourage your child in the problematic concepts with tutoring and specific training, and praise your child for his good work in the other areas.
5) Over the summer, plan ahead for the upcoming year by introducing concepts and having fun experimenting with them. Create challenges for them, perhaps even competing with siblings or friends for motivation. This way, when the teacher begins instruction, your kids will feel as if they are ahead of the game instead of behind.
Everyone is different in their inherent abilities when it comes to math, so some children may respond more easily and some may really struggle. Getting help for your child is easier than you may think, and you will be joined by parents all across the country who realize the importance of incorporating math instruction over the summer to mitigate the effects of summer learning loss.