Oh, those lazy days of summer. For many kids, summer is second only to their birthday when it comes to the giddy anticipation over the long break ahead. Summer is a time when a child’s math proficiency can be on a slippery slide as well. Add that to the after-effects of learning during the COVID pandemic, and the challenges at home could be compounded this summer. The Northwest Evaluation Association’s MAP Growth assessment predicts that summer slide and COVID slide are merging into what could be a perfect storm for lost learning.
A slippery slide
Zoom forward post COVID after a year of hybrid learning, and the NWEA predicts that those children who were between one and one-and-one-half grades behind in math are now testing at least two grades below age level. According to the Brookings Institute, 79 percent of students switching from third to fourth grade made academic gains between winter 2019 and fall 2019, relative to 57 percent of students in the same grade range in 2020. That’s a 22 percent drop in math proficiency for those students polled.
How to stop the slide
According to Carrie Scheiner, founder and CEO of Tampa-based Fun Wiseâ Math and known as Ms. Carrie to her students, summer math review is critical in preventing a regression of facts learned during the school year. Better yet, it should be fun.
“Without reinforcing learning, on average children lose about two months of math skills during the summer in a ‘normal’ school year. COVID compounded that dramatically. But the good news is parents have to the tools to prevent this all around them,” said Scheiner.
Fun summer math activities to try
Here are three simple steps you can take to keep your children on track for success this summer.
Step 1—Stay on track. Assess where your child was academically when he or she ended the school year, paying special attention to any concepts they struggled with. Assign them one workbook page (and only one—don’t overload them) per day to help them overcome gaps in math to help them get a jump on the next school year.
Step 2—Make math fun. Simple activities that help them count, sort, and classify objects are great ways to keep their math skills sharp. Going to the beach? Ask them to collect and count shells or sort them by shape. If you’re flying to your vacation destination, ask them to track how far you went and how long it took to get there.
Step 3—Incorporate additional resources. Go beyond books and workbooks, and look for fun puzzles and board games. In fact, you can give family game night a math twist and have fun together while honing their skills. Ms. Carrie recommends games like Trianomos and the Tiny Polka Dot, which are both available on Amazon.
Count the ways to alleviate boredom.
Math is a skill that will enrich a student’s life from the classroom to the boardroom. Just imagine sending your student back to school with a firm grasp of their multiplication tables or with a better understanding of how fractions work. It’s all possible, and the more fun they have learning, the more they’ll want to learn.
These are just a few of the many ways parents can foster a love of math in their children, which will ultimately lead to scholastic success in all areas of learning. Need help? Fun Wise Math offers a variety of programs that can be customized to meet your child’s needs, from online tutoring and programs nationwide to on-site, in-person math tutoring in the Tampa area. To learn more, visit www.funwise.com.