Unfortunately, the “Summer Slide” is not a dance. It's a term used by educators to describe the very real phenomenon of students losing academic ground over the summer as they use their brains less vigorously. For students who plan to take the SAT or ACT later this summer or in the fall, or who want to start off strong in their classes, the Summer Slide can put them at a disadvantage.
This summer is more critical than ever. Many students lost some academic learning during the spring, due to online classes, fewer assignments and pass/fail grades.
So, here’s one easy remedy: Read!
Encourage your children (of all ages) to read as much as they can. Some may already have assigned reading from school, but reading can also take the form of pleasure novels, magazines, etc. What matters is that they read regularly. This will help across the board and certainly with the ACT and SAT for juniors. I suggest that your child pick a daily time to read and plan for it, so that it actually happens.
Some students may also benefit from starting up with math or writing tutoring in the summer to review what they learned in the spring and preview what is coming in the fall. Those who struggle with organization and study skills may benefit from work with an academic coach as well. Good to get this scheduled soon, so you can work around vacations.
Explore Interests: Summer is a perfect time to have your child try something new and discover what they are good at, what they like, and what they hate. Whether it is a part-time job, volunteering, or a home-based project, everyone should be doing something in the summer that will help them learn more about themselves as well as build responsibility, independence, and self-confidence. Your child may need your encouragement if they have not yet found something to dive into on their own.
Due to the virus, there are many free courses online this year. Students can search on an area of interest – coding, creative writing, photography, woodworking, intro to engineering, etc.
Here is one source to find programs.
Informational Interview /Job shadow: Summer is a good time to have discussions about what your child finds interesting and then seek out an opportunity for them to do some shadowing to learn about a particular field. Try asking friends and neighbors if your child can talk to them about their field of work – how they got started, their career path, what a typical day is like, etc. Hopefully, an in-person job shadow can be a follow-up when circumstances allow.
For those motivated to work on their own, here are a few ideas/resources:
Khan Academy: You may know that Khan Academy now offers free SAT prep. It’s also a great place for students to work on various topics in math, science, computing, humanities, art and economics.
Free Rice. This terrific site covers a wide range of subjects (math, vocabulary and grammar, sciences, humanities, geography, foreign languages, etc.). It is fun to use and correct answers donate grains of rice to third world countries!
Finally, for rising seniors, there is college prep work to be done! Finalizing a list of schools, completing the main college essay and filling out the Common Application, to name just a few important items.
Believe me, come this fall, your child will be very happy that they have completed this work in the summer. You will be too!