FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – During summer break, studies show that kids lose between 25 percent to 30 percent of what they have learned during the school year. So, while relaxing by the pool or playing video games might sound like fun, experts said that parents and children should carve out some time for studies.
The three skills that suffer the most are:
“It’s kind of ‘use it or lose it’ kind of thing,” said educator Trish Van Buskirk. “If you don’t practice, you are not going to have those skills.” She has been an educator for over 40 years, currently as a Kumon instructor and owner. She recommended limiting studies to 30-60 minutes each day.
“Just like there’s muscle memory for tennis or musical instruments, there’s muscle memory for certain academic skills as well,” Van Buskirk said. To avoid the slide, she added, make a plan and set a goal for what you want to do — for example, a number of books that need to be read, or having times tables memorized. This sets an expectation for the whole summer.
Van Buskirk said that kids should be reading every day. And, for parents, think outside of the box. Have children rewrite the books into plays, or cook something inspired by the books. Discuss the books with your kids to extend the learning. “If the parents are excited, most of the kids will be excited about it,” she said.
There are many online tools and resources for parents. Some of them are:
- http://www.vocabulary.com – Compiles vocabulary words from books and movies.
- http://www.dailyteachingtools.com – Unique writing prompts.
- http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com – Free math worksheets.
- http://www.tlsbooks.com – Free worksheets for all subjects.
- http://www.whatdowedoallday.com – Ideas for off-screen activities.
- http://www.mystorybook.com – Helps kids write their own stories by letting them “publish” with pictures.
- http://www.getepic.com – Unlimited books to read. First month is free, then $7.99/month. Consider this for the summer months if you do not have time to go to the library.
Do not let children park in front of a screen all summer long, even if they are using educational apps. Van Buskirk said that children retain more if they use paper and pencil.