It is widely recognized, that students forget or lose from 3 weeks to 2.5 months of learning over the summer break . Studies have repeatedly proven this and the phenomenon even has a catchy name, Summer Brain Drain.

When most of us parents worry about keeping our kids at the top of their game, we find a nice summer reading program from the local library or book store. If we think there is a reading problem, we might step it up a notch and sign the kids up for a summer reading program from a local tutor or learning center.

If you think that’s all you need to prevent summer brain drain, please read on.

As it turns out , math skills deteriorate more from summer brain drain and need at least as much attention as reading skills. An exhaustive review of 39 studies concluded that math suffers most from lack of practice during the long summer break.

Of course we can involve our kids with practical math in fun ways at home. One of my favorites is working on fractions while making cookies . (e.g. Measure two quarter cups of brown sugar because I need a half cup total ) With a little adjustment for a student’s age and grade, most at-home math drills can easily provide the right level to challenge but not overwhelm a child. Little gardeners can figure out how many plants or seeds to buy to fill an area with tomato plants. Young travelers can map out a journey and estimate how long the trip will take. Shoppers can calculate sale prices or which paper towel package has the lowest per unit cost .

While these activities help, especially when you know and focus on your child’s weaker areas and calculations which are easily forgotten, studies still show that much of the computational skills which generally are not practiced over the summer, are simply forgotten . For this very reason, many schools have changed from a traditional school year calendar to year round school.

Most states in the U.S. already have several schools with year round calendars. Many schools are currently debating or actively switching to year round schedules. If your child is not attending school year round , studies show he or she will be forgetting at least one month of math each summer, and that summer loss is cumulative. Your child will forget or lose approximately a year of math instruction and will later be competing with students who have had the advantage of year round school.

So what is a concerned parent to do?

The best solution I’ve found is to enroll kids in a great summer math program. While not as readily available as summer reading programs, summer math programs are out there and are even more important.

Some things to consider are as follows.

Is the program is individualized and targeted to your child?

Does the program include a comprehensive curriculum delivered in an engaging, fun learning environment?

Are the teachers academically qualified with appropriate degrees?

Will you receive appropriate reports to track your student’s progress?

Does the program deliver results?

This summer, give your child the opportunity to have fun and get a step ahead of the coming school year. Your choice of summer activity will either leave your child behind, with the old summer brain drain, or put your student far ahead of her peers, and spare you the tortuous evenings struggling with math homework during the next school year . The choice is yours. Good luck!

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