Hooray, we made it to summer, seems like quite an accomplishment for us families! We know that your family could very well feel exhausted from the last 18 months of uncertainty which is absolutely understandable. After you take the deserved time you need to decompress, optimizing the “free time” to find learning moments is a top priority, especially this year. Even before the pandemic, summer slide was scientifically proven – contributing to more pronounced achievement gaps and creating feelings of defeat in all learners. “Researchers have explored this topic for more than a century,” according Ariel Goldberg with edsurge.com, so why are we not able to conquer the summer slide as a community?
By definition, summer slide is the learning loss children experience by not reinforcing the growth of their prior year. Learners who do not read, write and problem solve throughout the summer months can lose an additional three months of development achieved during the previous school year. The three months of loss academically can impact a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence. Instead of starting the following school year strong, children who experience summer slide may experience lower self-worth which can create even more loss than the lack of practice, particularly if teachers do not spend the first four weeks of instruction reviewing last year’s concepts. At minimum, learning loss impacts the follow areas:
- social skills
- frustration threshold
Let’s explore ways that you as caregivers can naturally strengthen your learner’s skills while still providing the reprieve you deserve and without adding too much to your own plate.
Key Steps to Maximizing the Summer Months:
- Engage in fun-filled learning – We certainly want your family to enjoy this summer and make the most of the time that you have together! Learning together can take many forms from card and board games, to conducting science experiments, cooking their favorite dishes, orchestrating outdoor activities and the like! It is imperative to treat these as moments to foster a love of learning holistically.
- Continue to build learning foundations – It is important to sprinkle in learning opportunities both organically and explicitly. In order to maintain your learner’s engagement, scheduling sessions with outside specialists can preserve your family dynamic and help to reinforce/progress the previously established goals from the school year.
- Introduce something new – Especially during the pandemic, special interests and hobbies could have fallen to the wayside. Setting aside time (daily, weekly, in camps, etc.) to allow learners to explore something new can spark a love for learning novel tasks and increase their likelihood of taking risks when they return to school!
- Invest in the right screen time – We get it, some learners are burnt out from screen time after months of distance learning. Finding ways to incorporate learning opportunities via screens such as learning videos, brain games, instructional sessions can provide the balance between play and enrichment that your family needs to thrive this summer.
- Encourage boredom – Brilliance follows boredom and structure is key to attaining this beauty during the summer, believe it or not. Establishing a routine can set learners up for success and provide reassurance for what’s to come each day and week. As a family, we create a boredom busters box full of ideas for our children to access and a space that serves as a creativity outlet so that they can feel free to make a mess and to lean into their boredom at the same time.
Offering a Helping Hand
For more ways to engage your learners in the process at home this summer, check out understood.org’s list of resources as there are so many from which you can gain inspiration! At Learnfully, we aim to empower neurodiversity by supporting families as a whole. Please feel free to watch our past webinars (especially the one dedicated to summer slide: Rise & Shine), programs dedicated to bridging the disparity between potential and performance and summer YouTube video series to discover even more ideas as to how to utilize the summer months bolstering your learners’ strengths and building momentum academically, socially, and emotionally!