Eliminate Learning Loss with Fun Summer Math Activities

Every child looks forward to the end of the school year. No more pencils, no more books...we all remember how it was. But as we get older, we find out that those long summer months are not always the best when it comes to our children's academics. On average, a child will lose 2.6 years of math education in a summer. When teachers start the school year, they need to go back over last year’s work for 4 – 6 weeks before moving on. This cycle causes our children to fall further and further behind each year. It’s a vicious cycle that can be easily stopped by implementing fun summer math activities.

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There are things that can be done during the summer to help stop this gradual slide down a negative math slope. As parents, we can fill vacations with fun summer math activities and help keep our children on track. Here are four easy ways to incorporate math into the summer, or even year-round.

1. Have your child do math problems at his/her level a couple of times a week.

It is easy to find workbooks of all levels at bookstores or online. Many of the books offer problems that are interesting rather than the typical dull work you might expect. There are also websites that can be found that offer free work sheets; you only need to print them out. The work doesn’t have to be extensive, maybe 10 problems three times a week. This is sufficient enough to ensure summer learning make certain that what was learned is not forgotten.

2. Help your child realize how math is used everyday.

You would be surprised by how much math we use in a day, that we don’t even realize we use. By opening our children’s eyes to this, we help them to understand that math is truly an important subject. Some examples that can be pointed out, and worked on include estimating, schedules, cooking, and budgeting. Having help in the kitchen is great, not only does your child learn a skill, they can also practice math by doubling or halving a recipe.

3. Playing family games is a great way to practice math skills.

Games are not only for the younger kids either. I am continually surprised by how often my own teens are interested in playing family games. Often, it is not only my kids joining us, but their friends too. Some fun family games include Mancala, Chess, Mastermind, Othelo, Monopoly, Cards (500 Rummy, Spades, Pinochle), Cribbage and Racko.

There are also some interactive math sites that have math games your kids may enjoy. You may want to try www.coolmath.com, www.sheppardsoftware.com/math.html or www.coolmath4kids.com.

4. Summer tutoring is a great way to get ahead for the next school year.

By having your child attend tutoring sessions they not only review the past year’s work to make sure that everything is understood, but also progress into the upcoming year so that your child starts at the top of the class. Most tutors are able to customize the sessions so that your child gets the help in the particular areas needed. Summer education no longer has the stigma of being for the “slow learner” or the “lazy” student. Many students that are getting tutored during the summer want to get ahead. They may not enjoy math but either they or their parents realize the importance of math.

Integrating math into the summer months is not that difficult, and it doesn’t have to be painful for our children either. Spending time together playing games or cooking is enjoyable and allows us to not only reconnect with our children but helps them academically as well. Providing a tutor for them gives them an advantage that all children need in today’s society. By introducing fun summer math activities to our children we are able to better prepare them for the future, which is one of the best gifts that we as parents can give them.

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