How You and Your Child Can Keep Your Math Skills Sharp this Summer

Jun 3, 2019 | Cinco Ranch

Did you know that students can lose up to two months’ worth of skills over the summer? It’s called the summer slide.

While fun in the sun is expected during their summer vacation, students are at risk of losing math knowledge they will probably need for the next school year. “On average, students lose about 2.6 months of learning in math over the summer.”

According to researchers, the summer slide can lead to long-term effects, like lower test scores, lower self-confidence, and a lower chance of succeeding in high school and college. Teachers, particularly math teachers, spend the first few weeks of the school year reteaching skills taught the previous spring. Luckily, focusing a little more on reviewing and learning math during the two months of summer break can help improve specific learning skills.

Make It Fun!

Just because kids are learning math over the summer, doesn’t mean we can’t make it fun and interesting to them. The summer is the best time to review previous concepts and introduce new material they will learn in the next year. Children will have more time, energy, and concentration when they don’t have to worry about school, homework, or extracurricular activities.

10 Ways to Avoid the Summer Slide

In the Kitchen

We use math every day in our lives and it doesn’t show more than it does in the kitchen. Following a recipe requires sequencing and counting. Baking and cooking also use measurements, conversions, multiplication and division. You can always start with something easy and simple, like baking brownies or making a smoothie. Once you and your child are comfortable working together in the kitchen and following a recipe, ask them to make twice the serving. They will start to think about things proportionally.

Playing Math Games

Board games like Monopoly®, Scrabble, and chess are math-based games that utilize money, strategy, and/or keeping score. Not only will playing these games help with numerical fluency, logic and probability skills, but it’s a great way to spend some time together!

Going Shopping

Children aren’t always the most enthusiastic shopping partners. While shopping at the grocery store or at the mall, you can keep things interesting by asking your child to find discounts, compare prices and calculate the total. Have your coupons handy and ask them how much you will save. You can also give your child some cash to spend on themselves and allow them to discover what they can buy.

Listening to Music

Believe it or not, music is inherently mathematical. The beat in your favorite songs follow a mathematical pattern. If your community offers it, attend a free summer concert in the park or participate in summer music activities. Listen to the music together and follow the beat. Help your child notice the repeated patterns. Don’t forget to get up and dance!

Visiting your local museum or science center

The Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Children’s Museum of Houston are a great place to start. Visiting a science center or museum can be a fun, math-focused experience the whole family can enjoy. You will learn about technology and the different historic inventions and innovators. Interactive exhibits and hands-on activities will stimulate your brain to think analytically. Not to mention, your child will be able to imagine what a future in math or science will be like. For a comprehensive list of all the museums in the Houston area, visit the Houston Museum District website.

Watching Sports and Doing the Math

 Watching sports together is not only a great way to spend quality time with your child, but you can also incorporate math. You and your child can keep track of the statistics of your favorite teams and players, keep track of the time between goals or touchdowns, and compare players based on the touchdowns, homeruns, or field goals they make. If your child likes to play football or basketball in your backyard, they can take measurements and compare them to an official-size field or court.

Reading Math-Based Books

That may not sound as exciting as it really is, but when math is an essential part of the story, your child can earn the benefit of thinking logically and enjoy a good book. “Secrets, Lies and Algebra” by Wendy Lichtman, “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster, and “The Number Devil” by Hans Magnus Enzensberger, just to name a few, are good books to explore.

Starting a Business

Your child will have all that free time this summer and not much to do with it. Starting a business is a great way to encourage your child to learn about handling money, calculating expenses and profits. Your child can do anything from yardwork and walking dogs to opening a lemonade stand.

DIY, Together!

Any kind of home-improvement project will involve math, so why not include your child in the process? Depending on the project, you are working with numbers, measurements, angles, spatial thinking, calculating area and problem-solving.

Finding the right Summer Math Learning Program

Summer is a great opportunity to take the time and explore concepts previously taught in school and learn at their own pace. A summer math program that specializes in creative, effective ways to teach math and works with your family’s summer schedule can help raise your child’s confidence and encourage their love of math. Mathnasium offers Summer Workout Plans that focus on fractions, multiplication, algebra readiness and more.

Math Help for the Long Term

Summer math programs aren’t just for those who are behind or struggling. They’re for anyone who wants to keep up or get ahead. Not only are parents avoiding the summer slide by enrolling in a summer learning program, they’re also helping their child start the next school year strong.

This summer, your child can discover the fun learning math can be!