Prevent summer slump!

By on April 9, 2015

Learning through the summer is absolutely essential.

A couple of years back, our ten-year old son Jon, fell behind in Math for two consecutive grading periods. Both my wife and I had serious concerns because we both work. Despite our endless efforts to bring him up to speed with his course work, things didn’t work out.

After a teacher assessment, we realized that he has somewhat fallen into a hole because he needed more time to understand certain mathematical concepts to do better in school.

Instead of taking annual summer vacation, we packed a lot into our two boys’ summer learning with special focus on academics. In between Karate (except for our 4-year old Justin who’s into swimming) and art lessons, we started sending the boys to summer school every year. Sending the two at the same time make quite a dent on our savings but the result is priceless.

After two years of day camp, my eldest son finally got himself back on track. Mostly what helped was a good program with a different feel from a traditional school year: smaller number of students, a lot of flashcard drills, repetition, reviews and fun moments with a teacher who presented math concepts in an engaging way. He was glad he met new friends too.

At least two months of grade level equivalency is lost by most youth spending unstructured and unsupervised time at home in summer. This leads to an achievement gap, according to a research by Johns Hopkins’ Science of Learning Institute.

The same study suggests that teachers typically spend four to six weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer.

Education researcher Benjamin S. Bloom, known for his significant contribution in mastery learning, mentioned in his 1976 research that “summer learning programs are a key strategy for improving the academic performance of struggling students.”

What all these compelling studies point to is that children in general need more time to absorb information, expand knowledge and retain memory in order to reach a certain achievement level and this is why the current practice of spacing learning out over time is an effective learning scheme.

Read: What should you consider asking when looking for a summer program?

About TF Tribe