Summer Learning Loss...Is it a Real Thing?

Christina Bunner

As we come to the last month of the school year, all children are daydreaming of long, lazy summer days at the swimming pool, or catching up on the latest video game or television show. The last thing they want to do is look at a book, or anything that might resemble school.

Unfortunately, it is hard for parents to find the line between summer school and letting kids enjoy their childhood summers and the memories they bring.

Summer learning loss is a real thing. It is defined as the loss of academic skills over the course of the summer months. It actually has been found to increase with age. A national study found third graders losing 20 to 27% of their academic knowledge for the year, compared to seventh graders who lose 36 to 50% of their academic gains. Parents can help their children in many ways to prevent this. Central Christian Academy has a summer program for an hour a day, for a week at a time to help emphasize the skills they have learned throughout the year, and to start to prepare for the year ahead. Also, many community organizations, such as the Salvation Army, offer programs with a broad range of learning, for a full day. They are especially helpful for parents working full time and trying to find financially feasible ways of childcare. They provide a fun full day learning environment.

If you are able to be home with your children, it is always possible to make a half hour to an hour a day for “school time.” It can be as simple as a couple of work sheets in a math and reading review book found at a bookstore. Also, there are many educational games online that help with reviewing vocabulary and math in fun game formats.

Of course, learning does not always have to be behind a computer or on a page. A child learns so much more about the world by being outside and connecting with their environment. A camping trip is an excellent time to learn science and the wonders of creation. Museums can teach history, science, math and cognitive skills.

Hopefully, these few tips will help your family to have a great summer enjoying the warm days and family memories, and still find helpful ways to stay ready for the next school year. Have a great summer!