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Is Your Child Suffering From Summer Slide? 5 Tips for Preventing Your Child’s Summer Slide

Apr 25, 2016

By: Denise Dorman, WriteBrain Media

 

When you hear the term “summer slide,” you might envision giggling children descending down a shiny slab of angled stainless steel in some verdant Milwaukee-area park, but here at Mathnasium, we mean this term in the context of your child losing his or her educational skills over the summer months.

 

Use It or Lose It

If you can remember back to when you were taking foreign language classes, especially if you immersed yourself in the country of that language, you likely lost much of what you learned once you were away from it. Sadly, the same is true for math and reading. One hundred years of research can’t be wrong. Kids score lower on standardized testing at summer’s end than they do with the very same tests at summer’s start  (White, 1906; Heyns, 1978; Entwisle & Alexander 1992; Cooper, 1996; Downey et al, 2004).

There’s a societal cost to all of this. Reteaching forgotten material at the start of the school year costs more than $1,500 per student annually, or more than $18,000 over the course of a K-12 education (Fairchild & Boulay, 2002). With budget cuts, schools cannot afford to absorb these costs year after year.

 

Hello Summer, Goodbye Math?

What we at Mathnasium find the most troubling is the statistic that students lose an average of two months’ worth of math computing skills over the summer months. (Cooper, 1996).

Why? According to Linda Gojak, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), “Even though we as adults use mathematics every day of our lives, I’m not sure kids do.” While we adults use math every day to calculate a restaurant tip, balance a checkbook, double a recipe, or identify our favorite Milwaukee Brewers baseball player’s ERA (Earned Run Average), kids don’t use math in everyday life. And especially not in the summer, unless prompted. Without tutors, teachers, or parents prompting kids, kids won’t gravitate towards practicing math when left to their own.

 

Turning Your Kid Into a Summer Mathlete: 5 Tips

There are creative ways to avoid the summer slide and keep your child’s head in the game, even during the summer months. Here are 5 Tips for maximizing the left side of their brain this summer:

1. The Lemonade Stand: Have your child calculate the cost of producing the lemonade—the water, the lemons, the sugar, the cups, the signage, the seller’s permit--and then determine what to charge to make their lemonade sales profitable. Learning the lesson of “Return on Investment” should be their focus.

2. The Baker’s Challenge: Have your child help you double a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, using multiplication on paper rather than relying on your handy calculator on the iPhone. (And then, calculate the cost of those cookies and sell those at the lemonade stand as well!)

3. Apps: There are many apps out there for the iPad and other tablets that gamify learning math. Set the timer and have your child spend an hour a day working on these apps. Search engines like Bing, Google and Yahoo are your friends—just do a search on the “Top 2016 Children’s Math Apps” and see what you pull up.

4. For Teens – From Wall Street to Miller Park: If you can remember the TV series Family Ties, you might remember Michael J. Fox’s character, Michael P. Keaton, was the precocious son who scrutinized the stock market from an early age. If your child shows an interest in the financial markets, set them up with an account to do day trading simulations. Sites like http://tradingsim.com will teach them the fundamentals. 

If your child leans towards sports, incorporate lessons on baseball statistics like RBIs (Runs Batted In) and ERAs (Earned Run Averages) into their understanding of their favorite players and their passion for the game. Websites like http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/baseball_basics/abbreviations.jsp provide information on the abbreviations related to the statistics that fans track. As Paul Fischer said in the Fireside Book of Baseball, “A passion for statistics is the earmark of a literate people,” (Charles Einstein, Simon and Schuster, Page 236).

5. Mathnasium of Whitefish Bay Summer Programs: Naturally, we believe in the wonders of Mathnasium, or we wouldn’t be here. We’re here during the summer to reboot your child’s math skills, ensuring their success for the 2016-2017 school year. 

Each child gets their own individualized learning plan to engage them in educational games – their Mathnasium Summer “Workouts” are beneficial and fun! Sign up for the summer program and your child receives a $99 Assessment (normally $199)! 

 

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