Keeping Children Intellectually Engaged Over Summer Break

It’s a myth that the summer break is an anachronism of our agrarian roots. In fact, the summer break, created by 19th century reformers to standardize the school calendar, is rooted in pre-air conditioned urban schools, which made the summer months the most sensible period for taking a break. What is a not a myth, however, is the “summer slide” in academics … and studies show this.

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    Keeping Children Intellectually Engaged Over Summer Break

    Keeping Children Intellectually Engaged Over Summer Break

    It’s a myth that the summer break is an anachronism of our agrarian roots. In fact, the summer break, created by 19th century reformers to standardize the school calendar, is rooted in pre-air conditioned urban schools, which made the summer months the most sensible period for taking a break.

    What is a not a myth, however, is the “summer slide” in academics. A study in 2020 concluded the average student lost 17-34% of the prior school year’s learning gains, while a Brookings Institute study estimated the loss to be approximately one month’s schooling, with greater losses in math than in reading and in lower income students than in higher income students.1,2

    Learning Ideas for the Summer Break

    Parents can keep their children academically sharp during the summer break in a number of ways, including:

    • Summer Camps—There are any number of day and away STEM-related summer camps that can provide children with an interesting and challenging intellectual experience, from computer camps to space camps. Since most children prefer a sports-related camp, consider requiring an education-oriented camp as a requirement for sending them to a sports camp.
    • Leverage Internet Resources—The internet is host to a wide range of learning opportunities for children of all ages and interests. Parents can begin their research into such sites by starting here.
    • Encourage Reading—Take your children to a bookstore and let them pick out several books to read over the summer—subject, of course, to parental veto! Set a schedule for each book’s completion and discuss the book with your child when finished.
    • Start a Summer Journal—A journal (or blog) hones a child’s writing skills, observational ability, and allows free expression of his or her thoughts and feelings.
    • Everyday Math—Find ways to exercise your child’s math muscles in everyday situations. Maybe it’s cooking a recipe, opening a lemonade stand, managing a yard sale or calculating baseball statistics. Even try some cool math games.
    • Look to Local Activities—Local organizations—such as the library, parks commission or school—may offer activities for children, while museums and historical sites represent wonderful learning opportunities.
    • Take Educational Day Trips—Plan on one or two educational day trips each month to learn new things.

    The list of possible educational adventures is limited only by a parent’s imagination, so go out and have fun with your child this summer and know he or she will hit the ground running in September.

    Sources:

    1. https://www.nwea.org/blog/2021/summer-learning-loss-what-we-know-what-were-learning/
    2. https://www.brookings.edu/research/summer-learning-loss-what-is-it-and-what-can-we-do-about-it/

    Please reference disclosures: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/

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