With summer right around the corner, students are getting ready to ditch books and tests for beaches and travel. Most students, following a standard nine-month school calendar, get to enjoy this break from school.
Studies have shown that one unintended consequence of these long summer vacations can be loss of academic knowledge and skills – a summer learning “slide.” According to the National Education Commission on Time and Learning (NECTL), students learn and retain knowledge better when taught on a more consistent basis.
According to Johns Hopkins University, math proficiency is especially susceptible to the summer learning “slide.” Students can lose up to two and a half months of math computational skills learned during the school year.
“These summer months can be the perfect time for parents to show their children the many practical applications of math outside the classroom,” says Deborah Baccan, owner of the Bradenton Mathnasium franchise. “Encourage kids to explore math in their everyday lives. Keep it light.”
A great way to offer brief daily math practice is to set aside 30 minutes to complete “problems of the day” related to skills students will need in the next grade level or related to skills that proved difficult during the previous school year.
These problems could be related to adapting recipes in the kitchen, planning trips, running a lemonade stand, or doing odd jobs for the neighbors. The consistency offered by a scheduled time can make the difference between retention of learning or the dreaded “summer slide.”
Another way to improve math literacy is through games, particularly classic games that have been adjusted to include a math component. Here are a couple of games enjoyed at Mathnasium which are played with a standard deck of playing cards, minus face cards:
These types of practices can be done independently or incorporated into family game nights. The competitive edge may also encourage real effort from the students, instead of the feeling of being forced to do math when they could be playing video games.
Preventing the “summer slide” means more than making time to study and practice skills learned in the previous year, but rather, to provide a variety of methods that encourage students to continue learning. Homemade educational camps, games adapted to practice learning skills, and continued parental involvement throughout the summer are all factors in preventing loss of knowledge.
Another emerging trend seen over school holidays is families who are developing “camps” for their children and grandchildren. Whether this is during a planned trip, or over a week-long stay at a relative’s home or in the local community, the movement to schedule time for educational activities is spreading.
So, during this summer, take time to have fun in the sun, but don’t forget to exercise the kiddos brains with fun math games.
Mathnasium of Bradenton wishes you and your family a fun and safe summer!
Mathnasium of Bradenton is open this summer, Monday through Friday, from 2:00-6:00 p.m. Math Game Hour is from 2:00-3:00 pm. daily, with instruction beginning at 3:00 pm. They are located at 6731 Manatee Ave W in Bradenton.