School may be out, but education continues
Summer vacation is here, so let's talk about summer brain drain. What is summer brain drain, you ask? It's the name that researchers have given to the learning loss that occurs for kids over the summer months. Most parents want to do something to keep their kids learning over the summer but may not know how to accomplish this. If you are wondering how to use this summer to your advantage instead of having it become a learning wasteland, read on.
First Make a Plan
Decide what your goals are for the summer. If your child is on grade level or above, then their summer learning experiences should be planned with the intention of maintaining skills, exploring interests and preparing for the next grade level. Does your child need to catch up? If so, the goal of the learning experiences you seek over the summer should be remediation in any area where they are below grade level.
If Your Child is on or Above Grade Level
• Let them choose books at the library based on their interests. They can even participate in a summer reading program like Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge where kids can get rewards for logging minutes spent reading: http://bit.ly/scholastic-summer-reading. While they are at the library, sign up for their summer reading program, too!
• Look up the Standards of Learning (SOLs) for each subject area for the grade that your child will be entering next school year. Come up with ways to practice these skills, preferably while doing everyday activities like shopping or dining at a restaurant. To access these standards, click this link, then the subject area, and the grade level under the word standards: http://bit.ly/sol-testing
• Come up with summer activities that promote learning beyond the classroom. Websites like Read Write Think from the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English have activities categorized by grade level and subject area: http://bit.ly/read-write-think
If Your Child is in Need of Remediation
• Consider finding a tutor. Most parents have trouble helping their kids with homework and schoolwork because they are so emotionally invested in having their child succeed that these sessions can be stressful. A tutor can help your child catch up quickly.
Nina lives in Spotsylvania with her husband and daughter. She owns Parrish Learning Zone, a K-12 tutoring service.