The summer holidays are classically seen as playtime all the time, which is great as it allows your kids to relax and enjoy being young.
But some children find these weeks of non-stop play can make it harder for them to jump back into the education atmosphere. Let’s explore why and what you can do to help:
- The Summer Learning Loss Theory
- The School-Summer Transition
- How to Educate Your Child at Home in The Holidays
- Fun Ways to Sneak In The Learning
Learning during the holidays is a great way to keep their confidence boosted and their minds busy, so let’s explore some ideas…
We’re all well-versed at home learning now, aren’t we? With zoom meetings, virtual lessons, and parents learning to support their kids in loads of new and exciting ways, it’s fair to say that learning at home is par for the course.
Well, just because school is out for summer doesn’t mean that learning must come to a halt.
The Summer Learning Loss Theory
Summer learning loss is a theory that has been around for years. It is all about how students learning levels drop after a break from education.
One early study found that “on average, students’ achievement scores declined over summer vacation by one month’s worth of school-year learning”.
Furthermore, the loss was more extensive for those at a higher grade. Some research suggest a loss of up to 50% in mathematics and nowhere near as much in reading, but the common consensus is: if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!
The School-Summer Transition
This loss can start as soon as the gates close on the playground on the last day of school – where else are they going to do multiplication and geography lessons, after all?
Especially when the learning has to compete with summer parties, playtime and sleeping in on a weekday! Yes, as soon as summer gets into gear, education can fall right by the wayside.
The disadvantages of summer holidays:
- There is potential to lose social skills and forget social cues
- Those with behavioural or learning difficulties may struggle with less structure
- A lack of access to school-based therapies and support
- Increased possibility of family conflict
- Likelihood of boredom
On the other hand, just like a short break from work, the summer holidays can be beneficial for children’s mental health, wellbeing, and overall learning.
The advantages of summer holidays:
- It gives them a reprieve from the classroom atmosphere
- They can escape any schoolyard challenges
- There is time to relax and recharge
- Alternative learning opportunities can be explored
- Trips and days out can help improve their social skills
There are two sides to it all, but there are ways to mitigate any potential negatives.
How to Educate Your Child at Home In The Holidays
The best way to prevent any unnecessary backsliding is to educate children at home. It’s as simple as that.
The issue is, how do you help and encourage your child to learn when there are loads of fun things to do with all their newly-acquired free time?
Well, to get started, there’s a great list of fun activities parents and kids can get involved with here. Fun is the key word there, as studies show that when children can do hands-on activities themselves, their engagement (read learning!) improves.
So basically, if they enjoy it and can do it themselves, they’re more likely to stick with it and learn.
With that in mind, here are some top tips for organising home learning during summer:
1. Make a Schedule (but don’t tell the kids)
Not only will this help keep the children in a bit of routine with bedtimes, set meal times and regular activities, but it will also will make things so much easier for parents too.
With everything in the plan and prepped to go, there will be no panicking trying to find an activity or learning opportunity as it will already be sorted.
2. Consider Subjects That Are Common for Learning Loss
Subjects like maths and geography can see the biggest learning losses, so try to incorporate these into home learning.
Baking and cooking are good for maths as there are measurements and counting, so is measuring heights, rearranging utensils and more. National Geographic has some fun ideas for geography home learning too.
3. Try New Things
One of the best things about summer is the free time kids have to explore and try new things, so why not make the most of that?
It all comes back to that engagement side of things – should they find a new interest or activity they enjoy, allow them to explore it and learn all about it.
In the long run, it could help them discover what they’re good at and form their future education path.
Fun Ways to Sneak in The Learning
If you think about it, getting kids into learning during summer is kind of the same as getting them to eat vegetables – you’ve got to sneak them in a bit.
This is especially true if they have difficulty learning and dislike certain aspects of school. So, here are a few sneaky ideas:
1. Set Up a Summer Reading List
Reading isn’t a subject where you normally see much loss over summer, but kids reading practice is still important.
Just don’t make it an obvious list or chore. Instead, you could ask them if they want to try a new genre or series?
If they’re not bothered by a specific book or theme, then you can find curated book sets for specific ages, or find out if your local library is running a summer reading challenge.
2. Write to Family and Friends
If there’s a summer party on the horizon, then there are likely invites and cards that need writing out for guests. Why not make it a kid’s job and help them practise their writing and grammar skills?
3. Get Out and About
Both nature walks and outdoor play are great for childhood development in general. Activities like going to the playground and exploring new environments build up confidence and boost motor skills such as coordination and balance.
They also offer excellent learning opportunities, and they’re fun to boot! Here are some outside STEM activities kids can do to learn about science, technology, and maths – check them out!
4. Watching TV
While screen time is a concern and has been linked to depression, eye strain, and a less healthy diet, there are ways to make this time beneficial.
For instance, there are plenty of films and shows which are based in education. And, with a bit of research, you can find some movies with more scientific themes and ideas for kids to explore.
At the end of the day, summer is a time of fun and frolics with friends and family, but that doesn’t have to mean that learning is completely forgotten.
From reading books to days out, baking, tv and more, summer learning loss can be managed by parents with a carefully (and sneakily) planned diary of things to do and see.
If done right, the return to school will be much smoother, and the children will be able to get back on track in no time. So, get going and try out a few fun home learning ideas for the summer!