Summer is the time for playing, relaxing, going on vacation, and watching tv, right?
According to a 2001 study from the University of Missouri, kids lose an average of 2 months' educational progress over the summer.
In other words, they have to relearn in September and October what they already learned in April and May (or May and June).
The regression happens to homeschoolers and traditional schoolers alike. Kids seem to lose the most in math, but also often lose ground in reading and other subjects, as well.
Don't throw up your hands in despair just yet; there are lots of things you can do to help your kids retain what they've learned - or even learn something new - over the summer.
- Read to them. Make going to the library part of your weekly routine; most have a free summer reading program with incentives and activities. You might be thinking about reading just to your younger children, but older kids will enjoy a family reading time if you choose books that are engaging. I taught high school science for 10 years, and I read Jurassic Park to my students almost every year. They loved it! Consider books from 101 chapter books to read to your kids or 101 picture books to read to your kids; there's something on it for everyone.
- Encourage them to read. While reading to your kids is important and valuable, getting them to read on their own is also critical. Do whatever it takes to get them reading - borrow the graphic novels they want from the library or buy them the magazines they love. For older kids, pick up something exciting. For younger ones, try a feel good story. Make a reading nook inside and another outside (hammock, anyone?). Also, let them see you reading. You are, after all, their biggest role model.
- Go on field trips. Field trips are learning disguised as fun. Let your kids take the lead. Do they love science? History? Art? Figuring out how things work? In addition to traditional museums, many factories offer museums or tours. So do farms and markets and some larger stores. They're all great learning experiences - if you talk about what you're seeing and help them to process what they're learning.
- Do math every day. Do lots of real-life math with your kids. Cook together, helping them to measure ingredients. (Ever double a recipe? There's a ton of math involved!) Play math-based games. (We have POP Addition/Subtraction and Money Bags, but there are lots of good games available for different ages.) It's easy to modify traditional card games to include more math. We're also doing a lot of math using the TenMarks website. More on that below.
- Get some apps. There are hundreds of educational apps for all subjects and all ages. I've shared many lists of educational apps for iPhone and iPad for preschool and elementary kids, and the TenMarks Math for Students app is available for tablets on iOS, Android or Fire OS.
- Look for classes. Many museums, schools, theaters, nature centers, and colleges offer summer activities and classes. Even some churches, theme parks, and theaters have classes. Once you start looking, you'll most likely find more opportunities than your schedule and budget will allow. Let your kids choose the topics that interest them most.
- Plant a garden. There are so many reasons to plant a garden (or even just a few containers) - teaching your kids patience, perseverance, diligence, observation, and questioning by checking on and caring for their plants daily, learning about pests, pest management, beneficial animals, fertilizer, testing effects of different changes, and so many more. What's more, you can work in math (measure your seedlings every 3 days, for example, and make a graph) and reading (by reading about the needs of different plants).
- Schedule learning on your calendar. I challenge you to do something educational at least twice every week, all summer long. If you don't think you can manage that, go for once a week. Any learning is better than none at all.
- Make learning fun. Search on Pinterest for "math games" or "science experiments" or whatever topic will interest your kids. Pinterest is invaluable for educational activities and ideas. You could start with my homeschooling, learning through play, or fun for kids boards.
TenMarks Summer Math Program
I am really excited to share TenMarks, an Amazon company, with you because they are working hard to prevent summer learning loss, too. Data from 2014 showed that the TenMarks program reversed summer learning loss in over 69% of kids in just eight weeks, with only one hour of use per week.
Awarded the CODiE Award for Best Math Instructional Solution, the TenMarks program provides students with a personalized course tuned to their individual learning needs, based on an end-of-year assessment.
The TenMarks Summer Math Program encourages kids to use screen time in a productive way, whether they're at home or on the go. My Grace is very reluctant to use apps that resemble schoolwork, but even she got into TenMarks, working on math problems in an effort to level up to the next icon. She's especially motivated to earn a special date with me (a reward I set for her in the system).
TenMarks is available today and runs through August 31, 2015, and it is absolutely free for US parents and kids! They have charged a fee in the past, so this is a great deal! You can visit http://summer.tenmarks.com for more information and to sign up.
The TenMarks Summer Math Program is designed for kids completing grade 1 through geometry and algebra 2. It starts with a diagnostic test that it uses to automatically create a personalized summer curriculum, reviewing concepts from the previous year and introducing concepts for the year to come. As students work through the curriculum, they can use hints and video lessons to review and learn new material.
Compensation was provided by TenMarks via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of TenMarks or Momtrends.