While most parents protect their children from the sun during the summer, some forget another important thing to block is summer brain drain.
Known by teachers across the country as the “summer slump” or “learning loss,” summer brain drain is a regression of skills that happens to children during summer months. It is often thought to be both inevitable and irreversible according to the National Summer Learning Association.
It is reported that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer. In addition, most lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math.
Jen Magnall, incoming math teacher to McPherson Middle School and mother of three said she encourages her children to do homework-type activities for about 20 minutes three times a week to stay sharp. For younger children, she thinks store bought workbooks can work just as effectively. She also suggests visiting www.mrnussbaum.com and www.pbskids.com.
Tiffany Pacey, fourth grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School, suggested parents get students enrolled in the McPherson Library’s Summer Reading Program. The program features activities like book clubs, story times, and a treasure hunters group. Special performances featuring puppets, comedy, science and marionettes are also offered. Participants are not required to read particular books, they are simply encouraged to read and log their time.
Pacey also suggested several innovative techniques for parents to use while traveling.
“Parents could initiate reading games such as reading billboards, researching the state being visited and keeping track of the various state license plates,” she said. “I involve my children in planning our summer vacation so that they are reading and thinking in a way that is meaningful to them.”
However, if parents do not have the resources to provide a family vacation, Pacey also said that there were many things to do locally – one even as close as her backyard.
“Our son gets to design and create a backyard decorative pond as his summer project,” she said. “This involves creativity, math, measurement and lots of planning.”