It's a common problem among students: summertime regression. Studies show that most students lose at least some knowledge that they gained during the school year over the course of summer vacation. According to Eileen Huntington, co-founder of the Huntington Learning Center, a little effort can go a long way when it comes to helping children avoid significant regression during the summer months. "It doesn't take eight hours a day of studying for your child to stay fresh," says Huntington. "Try projects and activities that make learning fun." Huntington suggests several ideas:
Look for educational summer camps or programs. Check with your child's school for educational summer camp ideas. Perhaps your budding scientist will enjoy your local nature and science museum's summer series for youth. If your child enjoys reading, check out writing programs for children and teens at your local library. If your town has a university or college, investigate programs there, too.
Make library visits a weekly excursion. Whether your child is seven or 12, the library should be your home away from home during the summer months. Most libraries host a variety of programs and classes for children and teens-from history classes to science programs to book clubs for all different genres. For younger children, the library may offer fun classes, clubs and more.
Request reading lists and activity sheets from your child's teacher. Your child's teacher can offer ideas to develop a realistic academic plan for summer. Ask for book recommendations based on your child's reading level and request other activities your child can do with you or independently that will reinforce concepts learned this past year.
Make reading a daily occurrence. Reading can be one of the most drastic regression areas, so develop a nightly reading routine for the whole household. Turn off the television and cell phones and have everyone in the family pull out their books or magazines for 30 minutes or longer. If your child needs help, read together. Keep it fun-let your child choose the reading material when you go to the library.
Summer is a great time for children to follow their interests and review what they learned last school year-and they can do so at a more relaxed pace. "A summer learning routine doesn't have to be rigorous, and it takes just a little creativity to come up with great anti-regression activities," says Huntington. "Get your child involved in the process, and remind your child that a little work this summer will have a great impact when he or she goes back to school in the fall."