Avoid the “Summer Slide’’

You may be tempted to view summer as a time to give your child a break from math. Think again. Summer is the best time of year to help your child succeed in math.

There are at least three reasons to keep your child engaged with math right through the summer.

The first is the “summer slide.” Numerous studies have shown that children who take a summer break from math can lose 2 to 2½ months of the math skills they learned during the school year. Children who are challenged to use and develop those skills over the summer start the next school year much stronger.

The second reason to keep your child engaged with math through the summer is to help your child master skills they may have missed during the school year. This is a common problem, and often quite subtle, not obvious to parents nor teachers. But missing skills will cause major problems as your child grows.

The third reason to keep your child engaged with math through the summer is to help them discover that math is fun! It’s true. Math is essentially a game of exploring patterns. But kids under pressure to learn new techniques often fail to see that math is a game. In the summer, without the pressures of homework and preparing for tests, children are free to discover how much fun math can be.

So during the summer, be sure to keep your kids engaged in math. Play games with them that require quick mental arithmetic. Or strategy games. Cook with them. Teach them how to double a recipe. Take them shopping with you. Let them make the purchase, but ask them first how much change they will get from, say, a $20 bill.

Do this, and homework time next year will be much less stressful, for your kids and for you.

Kip Fisher is the Center Director for the Fountain Valley branch of Mathnasium, the Math Learning Center, located at 18585 Brookhurst St. He can be reached by calling (714) 593-1500, or visit www.Mathnasium,com/FountainValley.

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