SALT LAKE CITY, Utah(News4Utah) Help your kids avoid the Summer Brain Drain. It’s a serious learning issue parents may want to start thinking about now before school lets out for the year. Janet Goble, the Career and Technical Education Director for Canyons School District, joined Brian Carlson, to explain what you can do to help.
Summer learning loss is a real problem. Testing data shows elementary school students lose academic ground over the long stretch of summer, sometimes as much as one month of reading knowledge and two months or more of math. That knowledge gap adds up, especially for children of low-income families. However, it can be mitigated by keeping students learning all year long.
Goble says Summer school, or tutoring, are definitely options for struggling learners who need to play catch-up. But, for most students who are just looking to keep their academic skills fresh, it doesn’t take much. The simple act of making sure that your kids have access to 3-4 books they enjoy can make a huge difference. Whatever the activity, it should be fun. Summer is the perfect time to explore new things or find an outlet to apply what you’ve learned in school. Most school districts, including Canyons District, offer week-long summer camps that are perfect for this. Elementary- to middle school-aged kids can try a new sport, or learn to draw or design jewelry. They also offer lots of science-oriented courses where kids can build robots and rockets, or learn to program video games. It’s also a good idea for you to check-in with your local high school, as many throughout Utah offer programs like robotics camps or woodworking workshops.
When kids reach high school they have less free time on their hands. Summer educational programs compete with jobs, family vacations and myriad other obligations. For high school students looking to get a jump on their studies or free up their class schedule for more electives, there’s Summer Semester, a selection of required courses that are partially delivered online – so you can do your studying poolside. This year, for the first time, Canyons is also sponsoring a half-day “Connect to Tech” summer event designed to give 7th and 8th graders a taste of some of the Career and Technical Education courses they can take in high school. Goble says they’ve deliberately planned it so kids can get some hands-on experience in physical therapy, digital media, construction or cosmetology. Code to Success, a nine-week computer programming boot camp, is also offered by several school districts statewide.
Many programs offer discounts for qualifying families. You could brainstorm an experiment to test principles your child learned in science class. You could even have a family entrepreneurial challenge or find a service project to sink your teeth into. Just keep it fun, and look for way to capitalize on your child’s special interests and talents.
Most school districts or high schools offer summer programs, so check with your neighborhood school. Or, visit CanyonsDistrict.org to learn about the programs they offer.