Incorporating Math Into Summer
During summer, students lose more skills in math than in any other subject. The reason is that math really does require daily practice. Without daily practice, the skills students cultivated in the school year can disappear quite rapidly. Educators call this summer brain-drain. Those students who stop practicing and growing math skills can lose months of what was learned during the academic year. Math is a subject that demands dedication and daily practice for proficiency and excellence. Keep students focused on growing and retaining math skills this summer by making sure they are a part of summer fun.
Start by Committing Make a commitment with your children to practice math daily – a parent’s commitment to keeping learning alive this summer is just as critical as a student’s own desire. Solidarity between children and parents while practicing math skills and drills this summer will help build a stronger foundation and make going back to school in the fall easier for children.
Set Goals Create challenging yet realistic goals for your children during the summer and encourage them to reach these goals within a given amount of time. Write them down – perhaps on a calendar so that they are visible to the whole family. When your children complete goals, it will be all the more satisfying for them to cross them off the list – for all to see. After that, motivate children by asking them to aim for even better and bigger goals. This is a fantastic way for the whole family to recognize the extra effort children make toward learning while school is out. Speak to your Kumon Instructor about setting realistic goals to advance to the next level and eventually to complete the program. Children need to see and understand the long-term vision and plan for their success.
Consider Rewards A reward system could be used to highlight those extra-special achievements too. A new level in Kumon reached? Taking a trip to a theme park or even the local playground would be a great way for the family to celebrate children’s personal successes. Many children express that spending time with their parents doing a special activity together was more important than receiving a physical gift. Children value time just as much as parents, so offer each child a chance to have his or her special time with mom and dad.
Show That Math Can be Fun Math anxiety is real. For many reasons, merely mentioning the word “math” gives a lot of children butterflies. Even so, most students can point out things about math that are enjoyable. Some children struggle with fractions but enjoy geometry. When children feel overwhelmed with math, it’s a great opportunity to showcase a form of math that can be more entertaining. A game called Bloxorz at Coolmath-Games.com challenges children to use knowledge of geometry to play and advance in the game. It delivers an epic soundtrack right from the start, surely designed to grab the player’s attention quickly. This Coolmath-Game offers more challenging puzzles than one might think, and in addition to Bloxorz, the site is loaded with other games that require children to use math concepts. Doing this will reengage anxious children and get them excited about the subject while relieving some of the anxiety associated with it.
Parents can also perform math in front of children whenever given the chance. Inserting some basic math into a child’s day can help make math a more comfortable, and less stressful, subject. Parents can create a budget for the next trip to the grocery store so children can see it being calculated. Using coupons, parents can practice small math problems using percentages or simple subtraction. An enjoyable activity for parents is to shout out a math problem for children to answer on the spot, and encourage the children to do the same back to parents. Playing games like this will incorporate math easily into day-to-day summer activities, like trips to the park or just lounging in the sun.
Math requires diligence and dedication. Patricia L. Hollingsworth, Ph.D. and director of The University School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said, “Unlike other subjects, math skills must be overlearned at each stage in order for the student to be successful in later stages.” By making the commitment to make math a part of this and all summers, parents are preparing children to begin learning new concepts instead of relearning what summer might have otherwise drained.