Summer learning loss, also commonly referred to as the summer slide, is an actual educational occurrence that happens during the school summer break. After the summer break, it has been found that the students have lost some of the skills and knowledge they accumulated over the academic year. The problem is due to the loss in momentum, as there is a break in learning. Students tend to get lower scores when school reopens after the summer break. As a consequence of the summer learning loss, teachers have to reteach the same lessons to the students or revise the lessons again, so they are updated and ready for more.
Many studies, such as “The Effects of Summer Vacation on the Academic Skills,” have been conducted by institutions like Harvard and others to find the reason for the decline in learning during summer break. Overall, it has been found that students lose on average a month of learning due to the summer break. A month of learning is a lot of learning because students attend school only for eight to nine months a year. Revising a month of learning is a big headache for teachers, too.
The study also found that socioeconomic factors played a role, and students from the lower strata of society experienced more learning loss while compared to students who came from well to do families. The reason is mainly attributed to the lack of books and reading material to students from the lower strata, while students from the higher socio-economic status had easy access to books and libraries. However, students, regardless of race, whether it was Black, White, Asian, or Latino, experienced some learning loss. The studies also found that children with learning disabilities had more learning loss when compared to students without any learning disabilities. Children with learning disabilities need to be continually learning, and breaks are bad for them as they tend to lose more of their learning skills. Additionally, students in higher grades happened to experience more learning loss than students in lower grades. The studies attributed this to the difficulty level of each grade, as the difficulty level increased the learning loss also increased considerably.
And finally, the studies found that learning loss is not equal among subjects. Students across the cross-section of society, across all races, across genders, across grades, had more learning loss in mathematics. After mathematics, the next higher learning loss was in spelling and grammar. The common reason for mathematics’ being the top subject among learning loss in summer breaks is due to the fact that children and parents neglect mathematics altogether in the break. Reading is often encouraged; this means children read something or other, and they brush up on their vocabulary, spelling, and grammar, whereas children never try to solve a math equation or algebra problem during summer breaks, and they are not usually encouraged to do so by parents.
To lessen the mathematics learning loss problem during summer breaks, parents can try the following methods:
- Make math fun: Make math a fun activity for your kids. Let them understand the use of math in their everyday lives. For example, ask your kids to calculate the discount on the bill when you take them out to shop. When you get back home, you can ask them to add the amounts and tally the items on the bill so that there is no discrepancy. The children will love this activity. You can also ask your kids to make note of a player’s statistics while you watch football or baseball with them. You can teach them the way to calculate the statistics and what one can understand from them. And for those who love to cook, you can ask your kids to weigh the flour and other ingredients. You can make it fun by asking how much flour or other ingredients would be needed if the same recipe was doubled or tripled or halved.
- There are many websites nowadays that can help children to lessen their summer learning loss. Kids need to solve math problems during the break and you can provide them with math problems; all you need to do is download math worksheets. You can check out math worksheets at https://www.edhelper.com/math_worksheets.htm. With these math worksheets, you can challenge your kids to solve them and the result would be that they will stay connected with math and not lose any of their previous academic year learning.
- Make the kids play games that have math already built into them. For example, Monopoly is a great game for kids to count and categorize. Do not opt for a calculator; let kids add and subtract and multiply and divide manually.
Any useful skill needs practice, and if you do not practice it continually you will lose it, so keep your kids busy with their math practice in the summer break.