10 Tips to Engage Students in Summer Learning
How to Make the Summer a Time for Learning (not Loafing)
Summer is often idealized as a time of glorified freedom and glorious weather — an opportunity to regroup and rest before the next school year, with little focus on summer learning. However, with 46 percent of two-parent households working full-time, many school children are left to fend for themselves over the summer. This can lead to too much screen time — watching TV or playing video games. Aside from the concern for safety, summer can create a tremendous learning loss among children who don’t spend any time during the summer pursuing reading lists or refreshing math skills.
“In math, most children lose two months of math skills during summer vacation, according to the National Summer Learning Association. For reading, the losses are even more pronounced for low-income students, who typically lose two to three months of reading skills. Their higher-income peers, by contrast, make slight reading gains, thus widening the achievement gap. These losses are cumulative and have a huge impact: By 5th grade, low-income children have been left two and a half to three years academically behind their higher-income peers by summer learning loss.”
These statistics are alarming. What can parents do to try and alleviate these academic losses during the summer months? Encourage your children to do something from this list:
- Keep a Journal
A great way for a child to maintain writing skills is by encouraging them to keep a journal. Have them set aside at least twenty minutes a day to write. Let hem pick out the journal and pen.
- Start Lessons to Learn an Instrument
Learning to play an instrument is a great way to exercise brain functions. Various studies have indicated the strong correlation between music training and brain development. Even 20 min a day can have a big impact on their brain.
- Do Online Math Games
Kids love to play games on digital devices. Lots of websites have math problems and worksheets for children of all ages and grade levels, including www.coolmath-games.com.
- Create a Kids’ Book Club
Organize a book club including other children in the same grade or in the neighborhood. Host the children weekly to choose a book to read and discuss it the following week.
- Start a Lemonade Stand
Helping a child set up a lemonade stand teaches them many valuable lessons. Lemonade stands are a great way to develop early business skills, including learning to develop a good product and customer service. It also requires some simple math skills and organization.
- Play Board Games
Playing board games with your child or having them play board games with other children is a great way to engage their brain, as board games rely on good social, organizational and often math skills.
- Make a Garden
In addition to teaching your child how to make plants grow, starting a garden with your child can help you teach them valuable lessons about nutrition.
- Attend Summer School or Academic Camp
Enrolling your child in summer school will keep your child learning all year round. Summer school and academic camps ensure children get social time with other kids their age while also getting a head start on the next year by keeping their brain active.
- Participate in Sports
In addition to keeping your child’s brain active in school subjects, another great way to exercise the mind is to involve your child in summer sports. Great for the body and the mind!! There are many organized summer sports leagues and camps, but start up football, softball, baseball, soccer games are always fun too.
- Get a Summer Job
For older students, having a summer job—from a retail job to mowing neighbor’s lawns can help to keep their minds engaged and active over the summer.
These are just a few ideas to keep children engaged and learning over the summer months. Let us know if you have more ideas, or try one and let us know how it goes!