Your child’s academic intellect is like a muscle. If they don’t use it, atrophy sets in.
There’s no better example than summer learning loss. Kids in general lose about 1 or more months of math and reading skills over the summer. The loss is even more significant for low-income children.
The key is to keep it light and build in a reward system, Dr. Lieb said.
“Short little bursts of learning is probably the best way to get buy in,” she said. “Even twice a week for 10 minutes a day is beneficial.”
- Library programs are ideal. Local libraries are offering virtual programs to keep children learning while social distancing at home.
“Any program that has a positive reinforcement component is great,” Dr. Lieb said.
- Come up with your own reward program. Have your child do a math worksheet a couple times a week for extra time in the pool or extra screen time.
- Cooking is a great way to keep younger kids sharp. In the kitchen, they have to figure out directions, measurements, fractions and double recipes. The reward could be a batch of cookies or favorite treat.
“There are a lot of different ways you can find math problems throughout the day,” Dr. Lieb said. “It’s a good outcome. They made the brownies they were craving and they had to use their brain and do the math to figure out the measurements.”
- Virtual travel is a great way to keep their brains working. Look to see what historical attractions are hosting online tours, the world is at their fingertips thanks to technology!
- Consider educational apps. Dr. Lieb recommends commonsensemedia.org and PBSKids.org to find the best learning apps.
- An hour a week of tutoring can help a struggling child prepare for the new school year. Teachers often tutor in the summer. Check with your school district for a list of tutors.
Summer is a wonderful time for kids, but the long layoff from school can have a significant impact.
“The first part of the school year is spent reviewing because it’s hard to dive into new material when students aren’t on a level playing field,” Dr. Lieb said.
“It’s not just about learning either. Kids have to get into the mode of being a student, of studying, staying organized and getting out of bed 2 hours earlier. That all can have an impact on academics.”