Summer break has finally arrived, and most students and their families are enjoying their free time. No wonder, the last school year with remote schooling for most of the time was particularly demanding. Breaks are important to recharge the batteries, especially during pandemic times. On the other hand, there's a point in the saying that our brains get lazy if they are not in use. Studies revealed that our brain begins losing its skills if we don’t use it for a longer period of time. A systematic review of 39 studies published 1996 found summer learning loss equaled about one month of classroom learning. Also, students tended to lose more in math skills compared to example reading skills.
It’s not exactly a pleasant experience for students to return back to school after a long summer, finding out that their hard earned skills are just not there anymore. Of course, it’s frustrating if you cannot remember how to solve that Math problem anymore. If students don’t step back and catch up in these situations, there’s a risk that they will also miss out on the upcoming topics, especially in Math, where things build on each other. Most schools plan a repetition phase after the summer, but we believe that we should spare our children from having to learn things twice.
What adds to this is the fact that the last school year was special anyway. Due to prolonged remote schooling, many students missed out on things and fell behind. International schools in Jakarta were able to provide well-working set-ups. But still, quite a number of students had problems to follow. The reasons are diverse - technical issues like bad wifi connections surely took their toll. Many students also just missed personal interactions with their teachers and their peers. This became worse with every month the schools stayed closed. For introverted students, Zoom meetings with many other students can be an overwhelming experience. Also, it’s much more difficult to withstand distractions when you sit at home in front of a screen or in a classroom with a teacher observing the class in person.
Our tutors at A for Effort have noticed that online schooling affects students in different ways. Age and personality both play a huge role. In fact, some of our students perform even better compared to the time before the pandemic hit. Being alone at home seems to even help some students to focus more and dedicate more of their time to school and homework. On the other hand, the number of students who fell behind is for sure higher. For this reason we have organized the A for Effort Summer Boost 2021. We offer private sessions, small group sessions and online sessions during the summer so that students can join even if they don’t spend their holidays in Jakarta. All our programs are tailor made and cater to the individual needs of each student. A for Effort provides Math and Science tutoring for students of all ages as well as specialized lessons for students following IB or AP courses. The personal approach and interactive teaching methods employed during our online lessons allow even students who have struggled during online school learning to successfully progress.
No parent wants to bother their children with school stuff too much during their well earned free time. What works for most children though is to add some brainy fun activities during relaxation time. Here’s a list of things you can do together with your kids during holidays, no matter where you spend them. Oh, and by the way: These activities not only keep your children’s brain active, they also keep them busy ;-).
1. What is your personal holiday project?
Many kids are used to the everyday routines - and some of them actually miss their routines during long holidays. Together with your children you can define one project they will be working on every day. It has to be finished before school starts again. The project could be about anything: Learning how to bake bread, learning some sentences and phrases in a new language, picking up an instrument or building their own website. What is important though is that your child has to apply creative thinking and the ability to solve problems. Once the project is finished you can celebrate the experience of success together.
2. One Math problem a day keeps the bad grades away
Ok, maybe we are exaggerating a bit here. But for sure it’s a good thing to keep your child practicing at least a little bit. Committing to one single task a day could be a way for that. A fun way to get children excited for solving Math problems are Math riddles. On the internet, you will find many examples suitable for your child’s grade.
3. Write something every day
Many kids don’t like writing for school a lot. However, writing, and especially handwriting, activates the brain. How about you inspire your child to write a postcard to all her friends during this summer? It seems a bit outdated, but actually it’s quite a nice thing for anyone to receive an old school personalized postcard. And depending on your child’s age, this might actually even be something pretty new and innovative.
4. Stay active
We have to repeat ourselves again: The pandemic took a toll. Not only in terms of school, but also in terms of physical exercise, with schools, sports clubs and fitness centers being closed. Physical activity is not only healthy for the body but also for the mind and for the brain. Children need a good mixture of physical and mental exercise to develop in the best way. So especially if your children were restrained from school sports during the last year, offer them possibilities to get active during the summer break. It will support their mental as well as their physical fitness.