During the summer months, children generally get a break from school. The weather is warm, the days are more relaxed and adventure awaits some in the form of vacations, days spent outside playing and pool time with friends. While the summer gives kids some needed rejuvenation before heading into the next school year, when kids are given too much of a break, they tend to lose a lot of info from prior school year. This loss of knowledge is what we call summer slide and it can rear its head in some ugly ways after summer. Summer slide can lead to your child having to try and play catch-up in their upcoming year with math concepts they already learned the prior year. It can also set them up to lack self-confidence and have math anxiety, as it can be frustrating and embarrassing for them to have to repeat things they once knew. Don’t worry, help is on the way.
Being that we are a math mastery center, we, at Mathnasium of Fort Collins, are devoted to helping prevent summer slide. Slides belong in waterparks, not in math. And we want to make sure your child comes up swimming, instead of sinking. It is our job to instill your child with good number sense and mathematical fluency, but we also want to prevent skill gaps in the summer, when your child is perhaps most susceptible to falling behind. We would love for you to bring your child in, just as much as the next math learning center or tutor, so let’s talk about what makes us different and what you should look for when looking for a good math summer program to enroll your child in in order to keep their math skills sharp going into the next school year. Here are some great questions to ask of a summer math program:
- Is the learning program plan designed specifically for my child? Many summer programs have curriculums that are designed for certain levels versus being designed individually for a child. These one-size-fits-all approaches might seem appealing because typically they are cheaper. Your child may be practicing math the entire time they’re in the program and it may be keeping their already existing skills from leaving, but because they don’t handle the specific needs of children individually, you may not see a lot of progress and your child might find that they are bored.
- Does the program determine the cause of my child’s issue? Similar to addressing the problems with one-size-fits-all approaches, when proper assessment isn’t done to determine how much your child knows, where they are lacking and where they are potentially exceling, it’s hard to know where to even being with instruction, let alone how to work on tailoring something that will address exactly where the knowledge gaps are and how to fill them. Math is all about building and the foundation for the building is really, really important. If a child’s math foundation is shaky, they will be shaky in pretty much all areas of math – especially as they move on and progress to harder concepts. Any gap in the foundation needs to be addressed before moving onto new concepts.
- Does the program work with my family’s schedule? There are many things in motion in the summer and schedules deviate from the norm, or at least from what they are in the school year. Summer months can mean different camps, vacation travel, play dates with other kids and other activities that may not normally be part of your child’s school year happenings. Asking about what summer packages are available and whether summer math programs will accommodate your schedule is important. You want to make sure your child can attend most, if not all sessions offered in the summer math program for them to get the most out of it.
- Is the program fun? Math may not be your child’s idea of the most fun activity to do in the summer. If your child is excited about doing summer math, more power to them! Remember, programs that just do things for repetition aren’t going to be much fun. They might as well get a workbook and do that all summer. Making sure a math program is stimulating for your child, rewarding them for reaching goals and working hard and overall building fun into each day’s or week’s session is what’s going to make your child go back. Make sure the instructors are trained well enough on getting kids engaged and not just people who are good at math themselves but don’t know how to teach it.
In the end, if you are shopping for summer math programs for your child, don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to get to the heart of how the program works and whether you think it’s a good decision for your child. And speaking of good decisions… we’re offering an Early Bird Special for summer math program registration. Register your child now for a summer math session at Mathnasium of Fort Collins and you’ll receive $100 off! Remember, the right program with individualized instruction can set your child up for higher math achievement for years to come.