Tips for helping your kids avoid the summer slide

Updated: Jun. 27, 2019 at 2:11 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - School’s out for the summer, and the fun begins. But you might be able to incorporate a few lessons into your activities, to keep the kids on track for school in the fall and avoid that summer slide. That’s a name experts have assigned for the knowledge lost over summer break, when students aren’t regularly practicing their lessons.

“It’s sort of like what happens in the off season in sports," said Larry Frank, Center Director and Owner Huntington Learning Center of Richmond. "You start not using the skills. It starts to degrade.”

Frank gave us some tips, but pointed out most importantly, you don’t have to change that much about your day.

For example, take a grocery shopping trip.

“Count the number of things that you put into your cart,” said Frank. "If it’s an older kid and they see you know, 25% off, have them do the math without the calculator you know so they’re constantly able to start thinking about it.”

Have older kids help you find the best deals.

Here’s Frank’s extended advice:

  • Whether you are headed to the grocery store or a roadside fruit stand, let your child put their math skills to the test.
  • For younger children, let them help with shopping by keeping track of how many items you add to the cart or have them read prices for every item you choose.
  • For older children, reinforce their multiplication or algebra skills (Example: “If we need six apples and a single apple is 50-cents, how much will that cost?”).

Once you get the groceries home, cooking is an educational opportunity:

  • They can help and learn at the same time by reading recipes, using measurements and fractions, and calculating weights and volumes
  • They’ll learn valuable cooking and kitchen safety skills, too.
  • However, teaching them to enjoy doing the dishes is a completely different lesson.

“The recipe might serve four, but you want to serve two, now you’re going to start working through some division,” said Frank.

In Virginia, there is history all around us. And Frank says Learning opportunities are everywhere.

“Think about stopping with those little historical markers,” said Frank. “Just a few seconds and letting them.,”

Here’s a passage from his advice:

“When you plan your summer outings, include some fun and engaging educational activities, like trips to science museums, art exhibits, and cultural and historical sites. Research shows that children with access to interactive learning activities are less likely to forget what they learned over the summer. Plus, every sign, historical marker, and information placard you encounter is a chance for your child to practice reading and increase vocabulary skills.”

“Don’t ask them necessarily what did you read on that marker?" said Frank. "Ask them fact questions. Get them to exercise the fact that they’re getting and remembering specific facts.”

Going on vacation? That’s an opportunity as well!

“Don’t just go in and pack their suitcase," said Frank. "Go in and count the number of bathing suits, the number of shirts, the number of pants, etc that are going into a suitcase. For older students, so hey our car gets 35 mpg, how many times are we going to have to fill up on that road trip.”

The point being - live your busy life; have your summer. And incorporate some learning where you can- and your kids will be better off for it.

Here’s a quick list, and how to contact the Huntington Learning Center Yourself.

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