Summer Math Programs Reduce the "Summer Slide", Increase Confidence, and Improve Next Year's Results

Mar 30, 2017 | Novi

We made it past the holidays and to the first signs that spring is really coming, daylight savings time! For most families this is the time of year where summer vacation plans get made. If you are planning a major getaway, you’re finalizing your plans and starting to think about what the kids will do before and after the trip. There are so many great options including summer day and overnight camps for music, art, sports, theater, and math programs.

Each summer students who don't engage in enrichment experiences suffer significantly from loss of academic skills over the summer which accumulate over the years according to a study conducted by Professor Karl Alexander of John Hopkins University.  When you think about summer activities for your children, it’s important to consider including reading and math enrichment.

This phenomenon is called the “summer learning loss” or “summer slide.” It’s a natural consequence of halting learning for summer break. Each year teachers spend four to eight weeks attempting to re-teach skills learned at the end of the past year to make-up for the summer slide. By the time a child reaches 6th grade, up to two full-years of learning may have been lost due to this summer learning loss.

Reading development and instruction tends to be highly individual. If your child slips a bit, it is very possible for them to catch back up on their own by reading more. Math instruction is much more of an interactive activity. Once you fall behind, it can be tough to catch up on your own. This means a summer slide can leave a confident student struggling next fall. Students who were struggling last year may fall behind even more, causing more loss of their confidence.

The news is not all bad. Summer learning loss is preventable. In fact, each summer gives your child the opportunity to both keep and improve skills-- a chance to catch-up, or even pull ahead of the pack. When they enter school in the fall they can be ready to tackle more challenging concepts. Plus, they will enjoy showing off their growth in math which will dramatically improve their confidence.


How to Avoid Summer Learning Loss or the "Summer Slide"

The solution to summer learning loss is simple. Most schools provide summer reading lists and many local libraries have excellent summer reading programs. With a little bit of research, most of us can handle putting together a summer reading plan.

The question then becomes how to engage them with math?   Experts agree that as little as two to three hours per week practicing math skills and engaging with concepts is enough to maintain existing math skills. However, is maintaining existing skills enough? Summer also presents the opportunity to build skills and moving your child ahead compared to the rest of the class. This can turn struggling students into top students, and top students into superstars.


Workbooks are one option....but they don’t always work.

Some parents buy a math workbook at the beginning of the summer, thinking that will keep their children’s math skills fresh during the break. A few pages per week should be enough to practice their math skills, right? Often the first few pages get done, then children become experts at finding other things to do. Math practice falls by the wayside.  Sometimes this is due to the very dry presentation of most workbooks. They are not designed to engage students, but rather to practice after interacting with someone who can break down the concepts in a way that makes sense.

The workbook idea fails when your student doesn’t understand an underlying concept, or gets concepts and algorithms confused. Workbooks can show us what we do well but they fall short in addressing learning gaps or answering questions. They certainly don’t arouse mathematical curiosity like the proprietary Mathnasium Method does.


How can Mathnasium help with Summer Learning Loss?

The Mathnasium approach to summer learning development focuses on teaching math in a way that makes sense to them.  The Mathnasium curriculum is designed to improve skills and confidence.  The instructor will use socrates questioning and number sense techniques to help your child understand the math as opposed to just memorizing algorithms. An individualized program is developed for each student to focus on math gaps in their learning and simultaneously explore advanced math topics. Attendance hours are flexible, making it easy to coordinate Mathnasium sessions around camp and vacation schedules.

Mathnasium offers morning and afternoon sessions throughout the week. Each Mathnasium summer program is designed to:

  • Fill in the missing gaps
  • Achieve mastery of new skills
  • Boost confidence
  • Teach math in a way that makes sense to them!


Call Jennifer Kakaley today at (248) 679-4448 to reserve your child’s summer math program at Mathnasium of Novi! Jennifer can answer all your questions about summer math enrichment and other Mathnasium programs which may benefit your child.


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