3 Simple Ways to Avoid Summer Brain Drain

It’s that time of year again.  Your child struggled to barely get by this school year, and he finally gets a chance to relax and recharge his batteries.  Summer is a great time for ‘kids to be kids’, but you must be careful to avoid Summer Brain Drain.

According to research by Johns Hopkins University Center for Summer Learning, students lose an average of 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in reading and math when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.  When August comes around, teachers spend 4 to 6 weeks re-teaching material that students have forgotten during the summer.

Keeping your child’s brain active during the summer is critical to prevent the loss of learning skills.  There are 3 simple things you can do with your children to give them the edge to be successful next school year.

 1.    Plan day trips to your local library or bookstore.

Believe it or not, it is easy to see which students have lost much of their learning skills over the summer by finding out how much and how often they read.  Spending time in your local library or bookstore can pay golden dividends when school starts in August.

Ask your local librarian to suggest fun and exciting books that are appropriate to your child’s interests and reading level.  They will be able to explore new worlds, expand their vocabulary and stimulate their creativity without the burden of having to write a book report.

If you prefer a more relaxed environment; most bookstores have a café and reading areas where you can hang out with your children while they read.  Enjoy a sip of coffee and check your email, get work done or even read something yourself!  After all, how many unread books are just sitting there waiting for you to open them?

2.    Practice writing skills by journaling

The next best thing to reading during the summer is writing.  Encourage your children to keep a journal of their summer activities.  Journaling is an excellent way to express their feelings, and use their newly learned vocabulary.  Let them choose a journal book that is attractive to them and have them decorate it however they want to.

If you are traveling somewhere, have your children research the places you plan to go and provide options for activities that they want to enjoy.  Once on the trip, have your children keep a “Captain’s Log” of the day’s events and activities, along with comments about how they felt that day.  This will help them become more observant and practice their visual and auditory memory.

Giving them some responsibility and ownership of their educational activities will go a long way to improve your children’s learning skills.

 3.    Have THEM do the cooking…and practice math while they do it

Having your children help with cooking is a great way for them to practice math and science skills.  Students often have trouble understanding weights and measures because they are more abstract and difficult to convert.  Using common kitchen utensils, they will be able to gain a real-life understanding of the relationship between cups and quarts, ounces and pounds, and other complicated measurements.

As any chef knows, following recipe instructions properly are just as important as having all the right ingredients.  Your child will learn the importance of sequencing and following step by step instructions in a non-threatening way.  After all, the worst thing that could go wrong is having flat cupcakes!

From Brain Drain to Brain Train in 3 Months

Dr. Ruth Peters, who regularly appeared on the Today Show says, “For many students, summer means that much of what students have learned in the past nine months goes out their heads like summer heat rising from the blacktop.”  The good news is that for most students, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Following these simple steps and enhancing your child’s learning skills, the brain can grow and become sharper.  This means that for children who work harder than the average student, years of frustration and embarrassment can be traded for success and self-confidence.

For more tips on how to help your child become a comfortable, independent learner, visit www.learningfoundations.com or email us at info@learningfoundations.com.


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