According to the U.S. Department of Education, children can experience a learning loss equivalent to two months of math and reading skills during the summer months. More than half of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth can possibly be explained by an unequal access of the children to summer learning opportunities.
The temptations are great for children to spend hours watching television or playing video games. However, just because it is summer vacation doesn’t mean students’ brains need to take a vacation. “You don’t want your kids to think that learning is only something that happens in places called schools,” says Susan K. Perry, author of Playing Smart: The Family Guide to Enriching Offbeat Learning Activities for Ages 4-14. With some planning, the summer can be the best time for learning and building new skills. Here are a few ways to make the most out of the summer.
Geographic distances between learning institutions and students can often create a barrier for learning during the summer. With webinars, students get access to virtual classes from anywhere. Another great thing about webinars is that you can find ones on just about any topic. This means that students can learn more about the things that interest them, which makes learning during the summer feel like less of a chore. For students that are starting to look beyond high school, summer is also the perfect time to begin career development. This July, U can B is offering a number of work-related webinars that cover the following topics:
- Using Social Media for Job Searching
- Using Linkedin for Job Hunting
- How to Create a Professional Online Brand
2. Reading Programs
Reading is a great way to keep students’ minds active during the summer months. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money on books. Instead, find out if your public library is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Program. Public libraries in participating states purchase posters, reading logs, bookmarks, certificates and a variety of reading incentives that help engage kids and get them excited about reading.
3. Start a Garden
A fun way to foster students’ education and personal development during the summer is through gardening. Not only does gardening help create generations of kids connected to their food, community, and planet, but it also develops valuable skills such as planning, math, and science. Check out the Kids Gardening website for lots of great ideas and resources on how to get started.
There are plenty of ways to ensure students’ minds don’t go into hibernation this summer. Learning does not have to be a seasonal event; with the right methods, students can be excited about learning year round! Plan ahead and take advantage of technology as well as free programs that make learning fun.