When you think about summer, what do you see? Sunshine, ice cream and beaches? Most likely. Doing math? Not so much. Many children and parents perceive math to be done only in school. This results in students focusing more on having fun during their summer break rather than keeping their math skills strong – an attitude that can unfortunately set them back in school.
Studies have shown that students, who don’t practice math, can lose about 2.6 months of math skills learned over the summer. This is what is typically known as “summer math loss”. Lower academic achievements, decreased self-confidence and teachers wasting time in reteaching the concepts are just some of the consequences of summer math loss in students.
Fortunately, your child can still have fun while learning math during the summer. To beat summer math loss, follow these five tips below:
1. Practice math at home in small amounts every day
Math doesn’t always have to be taught during class or studied for hours to be learned – you can find small ways for your child to practice it at home everyday! You can do so by having your child practice math problems just for 20 minutes per day. You can even have them practice their math skills in the kitchen, as baking and cooking require concepts like measuring, sequencing, multiplication and division. Consistency is key, so having your child practice in small amounts daily is an effective and easy way to prevent summer math loss.
2. Integrate math in daily tasks and activities
Math is an important part of everyday life, so show your child how influential math skills can be! Have them accompany you when you go shopping for groceries and tell them to find discounts, use coupons or ask them to add up the items in your cart. When it comes to cashing out, teach them how to calculate change. When having take-out or eating at a restaurant, let your child calculate the tip needed for the server or delivery person. To avoid math loss, it’s important to show that math needed everywhere, not just in school.
3. Read bedtime math stories
Incorporate math into your bedtime stories! According to a report in Science Magazine, bedtime math can improve a child’s math abilities, giving them a 3-month advantage over their classmates. While regular bedtime stories consist of reading tales to children, bedtime math gives children fun, appealing math problems and riddles to solve before they go to sleep. It will help your child feel excited and, afterwards, accomplished in math by the end of the day, helping to lessen the chances of summer math loss.
4. Play games that use math skills
Games are an excellent way to help your child use the math they learned in school in a fun, engaging and creative way! Playing games that involve money, strategy or keeping score can help your child build up their logic, probability skills and critical thinking proficiency. Such games involve Yahtzee, Monopoly, Scrabble and Chess. One of the greatest advantages of these board games is that they’re easily accessible, so you can bring them with you on vacation, road trips or incorporate them through a weekly family game night. Don’t forget about online games too – you can find a variety of games online that cater to strengthening math knowledge. Either way, summer math loss won’t affect your child if they’re excited to play games that showcase their math skills!
5. Get ahead with a summer math program
Enrolling your child in a summer math program is one of the best ways to ensure your child’s excellence in math once the school year begins. In fact, a study had shown that 96% of students, who had participated in a summer pre-engineering program, believed that it was beneficial to their math learning experience.
These summer math programs are designed to keep your child engaged in math through a creative and productive outlet, giving them the chance to learn at their own pace. If they’re falling behind, at the standard grade level or would benefit from higher level math, the summer math program is individualized to suit and fulfill your child’s learning needs. If they need help, a math expert from the summer math program is there and ready to provide clarity and guidance.
In all these methods lies a constant of math being something you have to work on everyday, not just for school. If you learn French in 9 months but don’t speak it at all for 3 months, you can’t talk to another person in French and expect to be as fluent as before. As with any skill, a person who practices consistently will be more experienced than people who mastered the skill but stopped using it.
At Math Project, our summer math programs implement a special curriculum personalized to our students’ learning styles and interests. We make sure that they start their school year with confidence and pride in their math abilities. See how we ensure math success in our students by clicking here.
Summer Math Loss – gse.harvard.edu
Bedtime problems boost kids’ math performance – sciencemag.org
SUMMER SLIDE: 5 STRATEGIES FOR PREVENTION – therouttymathteacher.com
10 Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide and Keep Math Skills Sharp – momentumlearning.org
How prevent summer learning loss (and still have fun) – parentingscience.com
STEM IN THE SUMMER: THE JOY OF MEANINGFUL LEARNING – summerlearning.org