The Dreaded Summer Slide
I can’t believe that we’re in our last month of the school year. The last two years have felt like both a week and 10 years at the same time - the only way I can describe it is: time warp. As we enter the end of the school year, we begin to think about the summer and our classes for next year.
We love seeing kids return in the fall! Some have grown a foot over the summer, some have matured, and most have wonderful stories to tell about their summer experiences. It’s fun to see what the summer months bring. One of the many things I love about our school is that we get to watch the kids grow up academically year over year. As many of our teachers teach students multiple years, we know where they were in May and where they should be in September. It is always interesting to see who comes back academically after the summer.
The “summer slide” is a term we use to describe academic loss students experience over the summer. Curricula that build on itself (e.g., math) is written so that the first unit is a review from the prior year. It is fascinating to watch how every child is different. Some return having learned new skills, others return where we left off, and yet others return having lost a month or two of skills. I do believe that summers are a great time to explore and relax, but also a time to do more than play video games. What kids are able to do depends on many factors, including where they are emotionally, after the last two years. If you’re at a loss for what to do and you and your child have time on your hands, read on.
I like to leave time for exploration and fun, so these are recommendations to pick up in the fall where you left off in June and understanding that there are only so many hours in a week, I like to focus on the areas of most impact.
Reading: This activity helps kids across the board in humanities, English, science, and math classes with reading comprehension and reading fluency. Whether by Kindle, audiobook, or old-fashioned paperback, there can never be enough reading books that your child is interested in trying. See if they will stretch themselves a little with more challenging books. I like these reading lists.
Math: The Northern Virginia area can be pretty competitive when it comes to math. I am a fan of developing problem solving skills rather than advancing through math curriculum at a pace faster than a child is ready. For problem solving practice I like the following:
Project or activity of your child’s choosing: Whether it’s a list of documentaries to watch, trails to hike, helping out, learning how to cook, tinkering or coding, or picking up a new sport, ask your child if there is anything he/she wants to learn. This activity is about being creative and exploring.
Summer is for fun, and I hope that your kids find enjoyment in books and in problem solving this summer!
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Juliana Heitz is co-founder of Ideaventions Academy and is very excited to share the thinking behind the Academy.
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