By Sarah Vander Schaaff
This week, I’m sharing a blog I wrote a few years ago with a math teacher who has “seen it all.” And by that I mean, she’s seen what happens when the students she taught all year show up the following fall. Some have kept their skills sharp or even advanced them, and others, not so much. Many of her students, most of whom have learning differences, benefit from summer school. Others find integrating math into day-to-day activities is enough to maintain math skills. We hope you find her advice useful, and as with all things, frame it in the context of your own child’s needs.
Questions for our Teacher on Summer Math:
1. Any thoughts you wish parents and students took to heart about summer?
Summer is a wonderful time of year. It is probably my favorite season because everything just feels more relaxed and “breezy,” even when things are a little crazy.
However, these lazy days of summer can wreak havoc on a progress that was made during the school year. Instead of taking the summer off and starting the school year behind, use this summer to get ahead a little. Surround yourself with new and interesting math games, workbooks, websites, and/or apps. Have fun, relax, and enjoy the summer. Just make use of the educational opportunities that summer has to offer.
2. What do you recommend to keep math skills sharp over the summer months?
Summer math school is ideal for helping prevent regression, especially for students who participate in a special education program. Tutoring or educational camps are very effective ways to keep skills sharp in the summer. If these are not viable options, having students complete one math worksheet a day, or work on a math app for about 10-15 minutes, can also keep their skills sharp.
Also try to incorporate educational activities, even if it is simply adding up all of the items in the grocery cart.
3. Do you notice students forget skills over the summer months, in effect starting the fall having forgotten some of the things they’d learned at the end of the year?
The summer is traditionally a time of year most students experience regression. This is especially true if students have learning differences or are not involved in some type of supplemental math instruction.
Conversely, some students who are very involved in summer learning activities make significant gains in their skills during the summer months and are able to improve their skills in one or more subject areas.
Keep in mind that the first month of school is usually dedicated to reviewing material in order to recover the skills and knowledge that was lost for most students. If your student starts the school year sharp, it will make the transition that much easier.
Recommendations from Nancy:
We at Mindprint believe that board and card games are one of the most underutilized resources by parents today and a great way to keep students sharp over the summer.
The games you choose will depend on your children’s interests and competitive nature and the math skills you want to reinforce. However, some of our favorite games that work well for strengthening visual and math reasoning skills include Q-bitz, Gobblet and SET (visual reasoning/strategic thinking), and Shut the Box (math facts). These are in addition to classic games we grew up with such as Battleship, Othello and Monopoly.
Find a wide variety of games based on your student’s interests and needs in our Toolbox.