While the schools did their best to make a switch from classroom to online learning, let’s be honest, our kids’ summer vacation, as far as school is concerned, started a little earlier this year. We all got burned out trying to both educate our children and maintain our own work schedules. And, everyone was ready for a break from this new “normal.”
Unfortunately, if summer days continue to be devoid of educational pursuits– a significant amount of what went into building your child’s brain during the school year will start to leak out. Summer brain drain can amount to a significant learning loss, as much as 2 ½ months per student, with the biggest losses in math and reading. Consistent summer losses can cause a child to be 2 years behind their peers by 6th grade. By 9th grade, summer losses are considered responsible for 2/3 of the achievement gap. When kids head back to the classroom in the fall, teachers spend valuable teaching time, anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, reteaching what was lost over the summer.
So how do we make the most of summer? How do we plug the drain and make gains, especially for our right brain visual kids? The key is to make learning hands on, make it visual, add lots of art and time to create and above all – make it FUN.
As much as your kids may think they don’t want to be tied down -they need structure in their day. It also helps maintain sanity for you. Allow time for structured learning like reading, writing, and math but don’t forget the opportunities for unstructured, creative play. Keeping a healthy balance between structure and free time is a big part of plugging the brain drain.
Tips for preventing summer brain drain…
• Reading: 20-30 minutes each day
• Math: 10-15 minutes 5 days a week
• Writing: or drawing for at least 20 minutes a day 5 days a week
• Daily chores: everybody needs to be doing a little something to help around the house
• Lots of creative play: plenty of time to let their imaginations run wild
Times and chores should be adjusted based on your child’s age