Summer slide, which is also referred to as summer brain drain, is a phenomenon that commonly occurs amongst non-stimulated school aged children over the summer vacation. The brain is muscle that needs to be constantly exercised to maintain optimal performance. During the summer months, many parents used to opt to give the children a break in order to recharge their batteries for the upcoming school year. This break in learning can have a detrimental affect on the upcoming school year; whereby, students may loose up to three months of previously acquired knowledge. A balance of both has proven to be ideal for students during summer break. Parents can “leave it to the experts” and enroll their child(ren) in an educational summer camp or they can capture teachable moments to implement their own summer curriculum.
Academic Summer Camps Combat Summer Slide
Many companies offer academic summer camps with an abbreviated schedule. Parents may enroll in one or two week courses and/or half and full day courses, depending on their child’s schedule. Parents should make sure certified and experienced teachers implement the summer program to assure a meaningful experience. Participation in this type of program should simulate a normal, yet abbreviated school day.
Parents may also opt to “homeschool” their children during the summer months. Routine is key when working with children of any age. Accordingly, parents should set up a particular time frame for lessons. For example, implementing lessons Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 12 noon will allow time for both learning and some fun in the sun. The summer should be used as a bridge between what was learned last school year and what will be covered this school year. Parents choosing to “homeschool” over summer breaks should familiarize themselves with the Common Core Standards. This will provide the instructor (parent) with a wealth of information about what their student should learn at a particular grade in school.
The Outdoor Classroom
Learning doesn’t necessarily have to take place at the dining room table only. A trip to the local park can be a learning opportunity when exploring science, reading, writing or math. Young students can explore the shapes that comprise the playground equipment, while older students can explore geometry when studying the angles of the jungle gym. Parents can say “ how many triangles can you count? “ or “how many 45 degree angles do you see?” When studying science and/or language arts, have the child take pictures of the flowers and utilize their research skills the following day to identify flower names and write a report or create a poster about what was observed the previous day.
Learning + Innovation = Fun
Learning, regardless of setting, should be fun and inclusive. Most children appreciate visuals over lectures. They enjoy working with manipulatives. Parents do not need to spend loads of money at the local learning supply store. On the contrary, grasping teachable moments while utilizing available resources will prove to be a fun way to exercise the child’s brain. Trips to local museums, parks and historical places in town can provide the family with a plethora of learning experiences. Learning wrapped in fun will keep the entire family engaged and happy.
For more info on our academic summer camp, please click here Summer College for Kids at Kean.