Come summer break, and you’ll see summer program ads everywhere! We understand it can be extremely overwhelming to see the number of options when it comes to academic summer programs (and also, non-academic ones). An academic summer program for middle and high school students can give them new skills in a subject they love or introduce them to something new and exciting. So if you’ve got a child who is anywhere between grades 1-10, an academic summer program must be on your consideration list while planning the summer for them this year!
A Little Something About Summer Learning Loss
Summers are a great time for children to enjoy and spend time doing things they love the most. The boundaries of school schedules can be taxing and hence, no wonder, almost all students love the summer breaks. Summer break however also brings with it the risk of a learning loss that is not an uncommon phenomenon. Summer learning loss or summer slide is the loss of academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation in countries that have long breaks in the school year, such as the US and Canada. According to nwea.org, an average student can lose up to 17–34% of the prior year’s learning gains during summer break. Also, the students who lose ground in one summer are more likely to also lose ground in subsequent summers.
Quick fact: Math and reading are the worst-hit areas when it comes to summer learning loss, with students losing up to 20% of their reading skills in one break.
Beat the Learning Loss With an Academic Summer Program
An academic summer program is more than a few hobby classes and group outings crunched into a few days. Let’s take a step back to acknowledge that not all academic summer programs are extensions of regular school classes. A good academic summer program is a mix of fun and learning, both in the right proportions and as enablers of each other.
So your child can literally have fun all summer long as they utilize the break time to:
- Master the subjects they may in general struggle with
- Learn a new skill within a subject (e.g. Vedic Math)
- Prepare for a standardized test or an academic contest of repute
- Eliminate the potential learning loss
Convinced but not convinced why your child should be spending their summer with an academic summer program instead of just an art and piano class at the most? We feel you! All parents have been in this tight evaluative spot for their child sometime or the other in their lives.
To help you make your choices right, here are the top 5 advantages of an academic summer program that you must consider in all sincerity for your child this summer:
1. An opportunity to supercharge the brain
Attending an academic summer program can do wonders for your child. It takes away the platitude of dull summer days spent in front of the TV or doing just 1-2 kinds of activities. By attending it, your child can hone their skills, charge up their brain and spend time in thinking and creating things instead of whiling away time in front of screens. An academic program with a focus on subjects like Math and English (including writing and reading) or on learning new languages are the best bets.
Math and language skills are the ones that need practice and discipline the most. By utilizing summer holidays to brush up skills in these areas your child can sharpen their thinking skills. As your child will endeavour to learn more in these areas, their brain will form new neural pathways that will in turn help them with critical thinking and executive functioning skills later.
2. Time liberty to get the basics strong and remove any subject-fear
In the United States, summer break is approximately three and a half months, with students typically finishing the school year between late May and late June. The schools start again only between early August and early September. Now consider a fun fact, it is said that to understand 95% of a language and become conversational fluent may require 3 months of applied learning. And well, to reach the 98% threshold you could require 10 years. So clearly, 3.5 months is a good amount of time to help your child do something productive, be it sharpening skills in a subject or learning something totally new.
These 3.5 months are a great amount of time to address your child’s fears about a particular subject. Here’s what you can do:
- Pick the subject your child hates the most or is fearful of the most
- Engage a private tutor for that subject, they are professionals who can help your child uncover the areas of weakness and turn them into strengths
- Start small with 60-minute lessons and scale to up to 90-minute lessons in about a fortnight (depending on the grade your child is in)
- Supplement the tutor’s efforts by helping your child with daily applications of what they’ve learned (e.g. if it’s math, try to get your child to apply the concepts by calculating portions for recipes, totaling the bill at the supermarket, etc.)
Note that a private tutor can help them unlock the basics first, thereby removing the inherent fear of the subject. They also bring in the additional benefits of discipline, continuous assessment, and constructive feedback. Not sure where to find the right private tutor for your child? Just log on to Talentnook.com and start looking through profiles of qualified and experienced tutors. You can request free demo sessions and choose from the online and offline modes of instruction. From math to Spanish to piano classes, we’ve got you covered. Hundreds and thousands of students have benefited from the professional guidance of our qualified tutors, your child could be the next! Register here.
3. The golden chance to get ahead and prevent the summer slide
This is a re-iteration of what we discussed above. Summer slide or loss of skills due to dormancy and lack of practice and application during summer break is more serious than you think. To avoid the same, an academic summer program is your best bet since you as a parent will have a limit to being able to engage with your child throughout the day. The program has the power to set your child ahead of others since they will spend these months preparing for the upcoming term.
Bonus tip: you may want to engage a private tutor to help your child prepare beforehand for the curriculum for the upcoming rest of the term at the school. This way they will have an understanding already and will be able to do a lot of follow-up practice at school when that part of the curriculum would be picked up. By doing this, they can strive for not just learning but mastery of certain topics within a subject.
4. Development of social and cognitive skills while working in groups
In academic summer programs, your child will get an opportunity to interact with other children from outside of their school circles. Working in groups also provides an excellent opportunity to cross-collaborate and learn from each other.
Enroll your child in a program that is online or offline but has some scope for group projects or team activities. At Talentnook, your child can join a study pod to learn with peers who can cross-collaborate and share their journeys.
5. Opportunities to explore completely new ways of learning
This one is rather unintuitive! Online or offline, these academic summer programs are an opportunity to learn in totally new ways. For example, if your child detests math for whatever reason, they can explore completely new ways of learning a part of it during summer break. With the liberty of time, their learning pace can be as per their comfort, leading to better assimilation of the learned concepts.
Here is how your child can learn in new and different ways during the summer break at an academic summer program:
- Learning through DIY projects, worksheets, etc.
- Learning through team projects and during daily chores at home
- Taking outdoor trips to apply the learned concepts and hence remember them forever
- Learning through video or board games with siblings, friends, and other peers at the summer camp
It is essentially a great way to help your child learn outside the traditional classroom. Incidentally, the best of learning really happens outside the walls of the school. It is outside where your child will learn to apply what they read and hence will be able to remember and re-apply organically to new life situations.
The Last Word
All in all, an academic summer program can do wonders for your child. Any time lost in finding the right set of activities for your child can lead to an inadvertent summer slide. Don’t wait for another jiffy and just hop on to Talentnook.com to explore a range of summer programs. From Talentnook Writing Academy to dedicated private tutors and study pods, there is a multitude of options for you to choose from! With Talentnook, you can make this summer count for your child!
Also read: Help Your Child Unlock Their Full Potential with PALO