I was pleased to see the article, The Cure for Summer Brain Drain, run in the On Parenting section of The Washington Post. The article focused on the importance of summer learning and area teachers provided activities for parents to consider.
My response to the article below offers a few additional suggestions to help make summer learning fun and feel less like summer school.
Thank you for covering this topic. The statistics around the “summer brain drain” are troubling, with most students losing more than 2.5 months of math and more than a month of reading skills over their summer vacation. As a certified speech and language pathologist and an organizational specialist, I have seen firsthand how summer learning loss affects children when they begin their new school year in September, as well as the effects playing catch-up has on their self esteem.
I enjoyed reading the suggestions offered by the area teachers helping parents discover fun and easy ways to keep their child learning throughout the summer. I wanted to offer a few additional activities the parents and students I work with enjoy that help make learning fun and not feel like “summer school.”
– Start a store: Use math skills and organization to plan the store and “sell” goods.
– Explore “Going Green,” your carbon footprint and whether recycling is all it’s cracked up to be: These activities involve not only math skills, but applying research to higher level critical thinking and analysis.
– Visit a different country every week: Use a globe/atlas to discover a new country, then hit the library for a collection of age appropriate books about the new country, learn a basic assortment of vocabulary (how to say “hello” and “thank you”) and prepare a meal that children in that country would enjoy.
– Be the editor of your family newsletter: Practice journalistic and writing skills, including interviews, news, pictures, advertisements and even cartoons.
– Grow your own food: Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as gaining knowledge about nutrition and healthy eating.
I hope that parents reading this article heed your advice in order to avoid the repercussions that falling behind over the summer may have on their child, both emotionally and mentally.
I was alarmed by many of the responses that accompanied mine. I thought I’d see more parents on board with the topic. Instead, there was a bitter tone of summer learning vs. summer vacation.
There shouldn’t be such animosity towards the thought of continued learning. I’m not advocating 12 months of school or a structured learning environment throughout the summer – and either was the reporter. Enjoy summer and everything that goes along with it! But please do your child and yourself a favor and incorporate learning into your summer fun so you aren’t playing the not-so-fun game of catch-up in September.