We made it! Summer is here and we are beyond ready to take a break. We dealt with a global pandemic this year. A GLOBAL PANDEMIC! Yet we got through it but more importantly, so did our children. From masks to virtual learning, students braved the new normal and persevered through many odds. So, while it’s important we take this time to relax and vacation during the summer, we must also stay diligent with our children’s learning.
Summer Learning Loss
In a recent study, David M. Quinn, Assistant Professor of Education at the University of Southern California and Morgan Polikoff, Associate Professor of Education, USC Rossier School of Education, “concluded that: (1) on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning, (2) declines were sharper for math than for reading, and (3) the extent of loss was larger at higher grade levels. Importantly, they also concluded that income-based reading gaps grew over the summer, given that middle-class students tended to show improvement in reading skills while lower-income students tended to experience loss. However, they did not find differential summer learning in math, or by gender or race in either subject.”
While summer learning loss or summer brain drain has been highly debated, one thing is clear, continuous education helps students retain information as well as stay in the habit of learning. The brain is a muscle that must be utilized to work, right?
Summer learning does not have to be taxing on the parents or students. Again, after the year we’ve had, we must take this time to refresh, renew and rest while we have the opportunity. Making summer learning fun and intentional is vital. Busy work will not suffice.
Here are some suggestions for keeping your children engaged in learning while having fun.
Summer Reading Suggestions
‘The Hill We Climb and Other Poems’ by Amanda Gorman (Poetry)
‘Ace of Spades’ by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé (thriller)
‘Instructions for Dancing’ by Nicola Yoon (teen love story)
‘I Am Enough’ by Byers, Grace
‘Planet Middle School’ by Nikki Grimes
‘A Child’s Introduction to African American History: The Experiences, People, and Events That Shaped Our Country’ by Asim, Jabari
‘Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina’ by Misty Copeland
‘Black Girls Rock! Owning Our Magic, Rocking Our Truth’ Edited by Beverly Bond
‘Miles Morales Spiderman’ by Jason Reynolds
‘Not Your Villain’ by C.B. Lee
Creative Ways to Learn
Summer vacation or grocery budget and aisle organization (Math)
Have your child/children help you make budgets for the grocery list. This can include items, pricing, coupons/discounts, total, and savings. They can also draw or print out the layout of the store to make the trip more efficient. This helps children see the importance of being organized and being prepared in advance.
Dinner table debates (Critical Thinking)
Sitting at the dinner table together offers families the opportunity to engage in great conversation. Turn the simple, “How was your day?” into a moment of free expression for debate. Start the conversation with, “What are your thoughts on…?” Allow your children to give their open and honest opinions on different subjects while stimulating them with thought-provoking questions. You may be surprised by how well your children formulate their thoughts and deliver their answers.
Cooking (Math and Science)
First things first, be patient! This is especially key if you’re cooking with young ones. Google some easy recipes for the kids to follow and watch as they delight in their contribution to making meals. What’s awesome is they have no idea that they are learning math, science, reading, following directions, patience, and much much more.
Dance Break (Exercise and Music Appreciation)
Dance breaks are great for everyone! Put on some music and just dance. Get the body moving and have some fun. You can even have the older kids teach you the newest dance craze. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime.
Summer learning can be fun for everyone. Just stay committed, encouraged, and purposeful in making learning consistent and engaging for your children.