Use the Summer to Help Your Kids Excel This Fall

Use time off from school to accelerate your child's learning

summer
(Image: iStock.com/Susan Chiang)

For some of you, school has already started. My nephew’s wife, who lives in Georgia, wrote recently on her Facebook page about the last bit of summer fun her kids were having before school starts.

But, for some of us, school starts in glorious September! How should you spend the rest of the summer positioning your children to excel this upcoming school year?

I spoke with Jay Veal, Founder and CEO of It’s Not Complicated Tutoring in Dallas, to find out.

Veal started by sharing the following statistics about summer learning loss:

  • Over the summer, 2.6 months of math skills are lost.
  • The equivalent of one month of general learning is lost after summer vacation.
  • Six weeks in the fall are spent relearning old material to make up for the summer slide, wasting time in the classroom.
  • Two months of reading skills are lost.
  • One whole grade level can be lost over the summer.
  • Two-thirds of the income-based achievement gap is attributed to summer learning loss at the start of high school, and it can take up to two months after the first day of school to get a student’s brain development back on track.

Summer learning loss is not insignificant. The losses are cumulative and can even affect college completion. Veal says, “It’s been shown that low-income and middle class kids drop out of college or don’t attend at all, because of summer learning loss over time.”

The good news is, parents can use the summer to not only remediate, but also help their kids accelerate.

Here are Veal’s tips:

  1. “Students need physical and social activities over the summer to stay at peak performance mentally.” Veal says such activities enhance children’s performance over time, and he recommends swimming, walking, and exploring one’s own city.
  2. “Use the summer to prepare your student for the next grade level.” Veal’s tutoring company prepares students to be 12 to 15 weeks ahead of their peers in the fall by engaging them in the next grade level’s writing, math, and reading.
  3. “Take advantage of available resources. There are 66,000 educational apps on the Web, such as Motion Math.” Veal recommends emphasizing language skills, reading, and doing things by sequence with young children. With older children, position them to develop financial skills like budgeting, investing, and balancing a checkbook. High school age students can work summer jobs or attend camps that build on their interests.
  4. Veal also recommends using the summer to learn a foreign language.
  5. His math tips? “Repetition is key. The standard recommendation is two hours a day, three times a week, which leads to almost zero math learning loss.”

To learn more about summer learning and other matters follow Veal on Twitter: @INCTutoring.



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