Avoiding the Educational Summer Slide

2021-08-04

Avoiding the Educational Summer SlideIf you're a parent, you've probably heard of the summer slide: the idea that kids experience some amount of learning loss over the two or three months of summer break.

The theory is that students who spend their summers simply relaxing and playing are at a disadvantage compared to those whose families have the resources to enroll them in educational programs, sign them up for specialized camps, or provide them with intellectually stimulating travel experiences. Not surprisingly, summer learning loss is thought to be worse for students from low-income families. But on the heels of a school year hobbled by the pandemic, pretty much all parents are concerned that their children may be falling behind. So what can parents and caregivers do?

If you're concerned about summer learning loss, or if you just want to make sure your child stays academically engaged over the summer, here are some things you can do:

Read, read, read: Reading is one of the very best things you can encourage, model, and do with your child to ensure that their skills are developing and on track and it's free. Experts recommend that young people spend 20 minutes a day reading in order to develop their skills. Summer is also a great time to hit up the local library and work on helping your child find books that they truly enjoy.

Hire a tutor: If your student struggles with reading or math, summer offers a great opportunity to bolster some of those critical skills. Be sure to find someone with experience who can make the learning both fun and effective.

Pursue your child's interests: Preventing summer backslide isn't just about hammering academic subjects; it's about keeping your child's curiosity and cognitive abilities engaged throughout the entire year. If your kid is into music, art, the outdoors, or anything else, help them to find opportunities to do what they love and learn new things as a result.

Find an educational camp: Learning doesn't have to be boring, traditional, or happen inside the walls of a classroom. There are many excellent camps and programs that involve academic learning but include just as much summer fun.

Use an online program: Admittedly, students and parents are pretty over online school. However, if you're on a tight budget, using a free online program can be a great option to help your student practice reading or math. Contact your child's school or former teachers to get recommendations on high-quality programs.

Don't forget downtime: While it's a great idea to help your child continue their growth through the summer months, don't forget that downtime and play have an important role in learning, too. Be sure to budget in some time that is completely obligation-free, and give your kids a chance to just relax and have fun.

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