No more teachers, no more books, no more… we all know this classic refrain that students sing to celebrate the last days of school and the arrival of summer. But while the warmer temperatures are certainly worth cheering, leaving the books and learning behind might not be as worthy of celebrating as we previously thought.
In fact, many of our notions about summer vacation might be wrong. Take a look at some of the common myths about summer learning, and get informed about how summer learning should be on your family’s to-do list this year.
Myth 1: Kids need the summer off to recharge.
While the school year can be tiring and mentally demanding, kids actually thrive within the framework that the school year provides. A break can be invigorating for a short period of time, but a too-long break rarely helps students feel recharged; rather, it leads to boredom and academic malaise.
Without replacing the school day structure with summer camps or other regular day programs, children can become disengaged from not only their routines, but also from learning. Video games, texting, movies and lounging by the pool are fun, but eventually relaxation and downtime become boring too. Providing mentally stimulating summer activities that are reliable is the best way to avoid summer boredom and keep kids charged up all summer long.
Myth 2: If summer was not intended to be a break, schools wouldn’t shut down.
The most common school year as we know it — from September to June — hasn’t always been the norm. In cities, year round education fell away due to medical concerns, fear of burnout, and poor attendance. Many families left the city during the summer to escape the heat, and schools followed suit.
With air conditioning and instituted health care systems in place, the only reason to continue to break in summer is financial — many school boards cannot afford year round operating costs.
Myth 3: Summer is not part of the school year.
In terms of the brain, learning runs 24-seven, all year round. Time away from school is a very important opportunity for many students to fill in learning gaps, make sense of material learned during the school year, and improve/develop important learning skills such as reading comprehension and organization. It’s an opportunity to get extra help that might not be available while school is in session.
As well, it’s the only chance students have to adequately prepare for the year ahead.
Myth 4: Summer school is for students that get bad grades.
While summer school may have at one time been reserved for those students needing extra help, that is no longer the case. Reports show that summer school attendance is on the rise, and not because of poor grades. Students are looking to get ahead, tackle extra credits, and get a competitive advantage via summer school.
Without having to balance the workload of the regular school year, students can make impressive academic gains and reduce school-year stress.
Myth 5: A summer off will make students refreshed and ready to learn in the fall.
Summer learning research shows that after taking a two-month break, students have lost approximately 20-30 per cent of their academic learning momentum. These studies also show that teachers typically spend up to six weeks re- teaching last year’s material. Students aren’t ready to learn after a summer off; they’ve lost their learning momentum after two months of video games and relaxing at the beach.
The summer slide, the brain drain, or summer learning losses — whatever you call it — can be easily prevented.
For more information about summer learning programs, contact Oxford Learning.
Director Oxford Learning Halifax & Bedford
Halifax 6270 Quinpool Rd.
540 Southgate Dr.