Jun 15, 2023 | Red Deer

Yaaayy .. it’s summer! After final exams, provincial tests, etc. your child deserves a long break, right? Of course they deserve to have fun, go to the beach, go to the mountain, enjoy family time, but while having all that, make sure that they don’t put the brakes on their math skills growth – and waste a chunk of their hard work in the past year. Why?

This study and many other studies consistently suggest that summer brain drain is real:

·        On average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning,

·        Declines were sharper for math than for reading,

·        The extent of loss was larger at higher grade levels.

To learn and retain math is to do math. From our experience, it's common that even by missing only one or two sessions, or coming back from spring or Christmas break, students forget how to solve math problems they were able to do at ease before. Can you imagine two solid months of summer break?  


"Have an A+ Summer with Mathnasium!" One creative student initiated to decorate our classroom with her own words 😊 Thank you!  

Signs that your child would benefit from a summer program

So – are you wondering if your child needs to attend a summer program to maintain a consistent schedule of learning? Here are some signs that they may need to join one.

1.       They are behind in math. Math is built on itself, brick by brick. The next layer is more complex than the one below. Each new concept requires a solid understanding of the previous one. If your child misses one brick, the impact can be detrimental as it will create another hollow brick – or bricks – at the next level.  Without intervention, the higher the level, the more gaps there will be. Summer program allows your child to get extra support to build the basics.

2.       They are doing “not bad” at math but there are indications of gaps. Take a closer look at your child’s math abilities. Teachers say their performance is ok, they may even get between 80-90% in class – but check their exams, quizzes, and homework to see why they make mistakes; is it because they made some careless mistakes or because they don’t understand the concepts? For us tutors, it is not uncommon to find students who do not understand the basic concepts even though they are “not bad” at math in school. These students will face difficulties when they learn more complex math since their foundation is shaky.

3.       So, summer programs are just for kids who are struggling then? Not really. We always have “get-ahead” students in our summer program. Kids who are interested and excel in math love enrichment programs. They like to expand their knowledge and like being challenged with new math topics. Especially in summer programs, typically there is something fun and different like STEM activities.  


So, the bottom line is, summer math programs are actually for all types of students – they’re for those who want to catch up, keep up or get ahead. Learning should be year-round, and regardless whether your child is behind in school or not, it is important for them to keep practicing. If you as parents – due to your busy schedule – are not able to spend time during summer to maintain consistent learning, it would be best if you enroll your child to a summer program.



Some of our regular students even are adding more hours during summer - because now they have 'lots of rooms' to learn math! 


But .. what type of summer program will work best for your child?

1.       Those who offer individualized approaches. A classroom approach generalizes content and moves all students at the same pace, whether students are behind or able to run ahead. A custom and personalized approach checks where your child is in their math learning – regardless what grade they are in – and moves forward at the pace that is right for them. This approach needs a comprehensive assessment to identify where your child is to build a specific learning plan.

2.       If you are looking for a math program, find an expert and specialist in math. They only teach math, they are the “authority” of math; and for the best ones, they have their own method that has been proven to help thousands if not millions of kids for tens of years.

3.       Reputation is important. Yes, they are experts in math, but are they good at teaching and engaging with kids? You don’t want to send your kids to just any tutor you find on google – at the minimum, you should check their independent reviews, feedback from parents, and check the background of the tutors.

Lastly, the cost should not break the bank. Be suspicious if it’s too cheap – maybe it’s just watching videos online or a chat session with a tutor, or the teachers are not really teaching but just grading students’ work, or it is only half an hour per week. But also be mindful if it’s expensive – that doesn’t necessarily mean the best quality either. Some set high prices utilizing the “marketing placebo effect”: they know many people mistakenly perceive expensive items as superior, so “assessment fees that cost $50 or $100 must be better than a free assessment” or “a program with a registration fee of $200 must be an excellent program”. Well think again – focus on the quality of learning your child will receive, and don’t make the cost as the major factor in your decision.  

Visit Mathnasium of Red Deer’s summer program – we make math make sense and fun! After all it’s summer .. learning should be more fun! Yesterday, when a new student was told that another student from her school has been with us forever, she replied, “I don’t blame him, this is a very cool place to learn math!” 😊