How To Prevent Summer Learning Loss (a.k.a. Summer Slide)

Have you heard the term 'Summer Slide'?

It's the idea that kids forget things they learnt or already knew and understood last school year, because they aren't practicing it over the summer.

Is summer learning loss or summer slide something that worries you ? If so, read on for some ideas that will help.

As summer quickly approaches, kids all over the world are looking forward to having a break from school, enjoying a fun vacation and a long break.

But, regardless of whether they’re public schooled, private schooled or homeschooled, taking a long break from learning has been shown to be detrimental to kids' education.

Are you worried about the summer learning loss or so-called summer slide?

Read on to find out how you can prevent kids losing the academic progress they have made this school year.

Studies show that this long period of time away from formal learning can cause kids to backslide when it comes to academic progress.

In fact, results have indicated that kids can lose a whole month (or maybe even more) of the progress they made during the school year!

As a result, when they get back into the classroom (or the homeschool room), they often have to spend time (sometimes a little, other times a lot) revisiting or even re-learning skills and knowledge that they've already covered.

As adults we know that when we don't use skills, we often either lose them or need to brush up on them, foreign language learning is the classic example.

While this isn’t the end of the world, it can be frustrating - for the child and for their teacher - and can mean spending valuable academic time catching up again when new learning could have been taking place instead.

That’s why I believe that summer time shouldn’t mean that all learning comes to an end.

Some homeschool families follow the traditional academic year taking a long summer break, but others adjust to a reduced summer schedule or even homeschool all year round.

We fall into the latter category, taking shorter breaks as and when we feel like it or when tiredness or sickness dictates.

We have tried taking the long summer break in the past but none of us thrives without a routine and having so much time off meant lost learning, cranky kids and an even crankier mama!

I highly recommend keeping some learning going all summer long.

You don’t have to make it a formal thing, but it really is beneficial to integrate a bit of learning into
your summer activities.

For one, it gives your child a chance to continue practicing and mastering skills and concepts they've been working on.

It also helps to show your kids that learning isn’t a one-and-done type of thing; learning is something we can all do for a lifetime.

Plus, when you find ways to make learning fun, it can instill a love of learning in your kids that runs deep!

Read on to find out how to weave some "fun-ucation" into your summer plans. Future you - and your kids - will thank you for it!

Of course, no-one wants their child to spend the whole summer break learning or doing homework, and summer learning is hard.

There are so many more interesting things to do after all!

Even though we homeschool year round, our summer schedule is definitely lighter to allow for plenty of fun activities, trips to the beach and the pool, and summer meet ups with friends who usually go to school.

I've found that the trick is to lighten up on too much formal book work and build in other opportunities to sneak in learning and there are tons of ways to do that!

Want to be a ninja learning partner for your kids? Read on...

When it comes to summer learning, it's essential to keep your kids on side and the key to that is to make learning FUN!

After all, we want our kids to LOVE learning . . . not view it as a chore.

So I wanted to share with you some fun activities that can help keep the learning going all summer long.

10 Ways to Keep Your Kids Learning This Summer

here are 10 ways to keep kids learning all summer long to keep them occupied, have tons of fun AND prevent summer learning loss - win-win-win!!

1. Encourage Curiosity

When kids are interested in a topic that they are learning about, they will learn better and remember more.

One of the best parts about homeschooling is getting to watch our girls develop unique interests that are all their own.

And it's no different for kids who go to school! Whatever they're interested in, find ways to encourage that.

Take a trip to the library or visit a charity shop or car boot sale to pick up some relevant items or books; encourage their hobbies or sporting activities; or help them to develop a much-loved collection.

Start a project together to find out more about their interest then pursue that rabbit hole to its very end, or at least for as long as your child's interest holds.

Add in some art or craft projects too for extra points!

It pretty much doesn't matter what they're into, from seahorses to Star Wars and everything in between, go with them on the journey and you'll have a ton of fun together as well as learning.

2. Have a Summer Reading Challenge

When it comes to helping prevent summer learning loss, it’s been shown that kids who read 4-5
books over the course of the summer fare a lot better than the ones who don’t.

Plus, there are, of course, all kinds of benefits to reading in general that make it a great activity to engage in all year long, so it's a great habit to get into.

Challenge your kids to read throughout the summer by having them commit to a certain number of books.

Since they're more likely to stick with it if they have the freedom to choose what they read, you can make a trip to the library, the bookstore, or even to an online bookstore such as Amazon and let them pick out their favorite adventures.

You can also see if your local library is hosting a summer reading challenge. Many of them do and they often offer cool prizes and incentives to get kids excited about reading!

3. Strewing

Strewing is a key aspect of unschooling, but it simply means leaving something lying around for your child to find.

This could be books, a leaflet about a local attraction or exhibition, craft or art materials, artefacts or other items related to an interest, anything.

Are they mad about horses, Barbie dolls, insects, space, fairies, Minecraft and axolotls?

Check out some axolotl books from the library and grab this axolotl unit study. Leave them somewhere and your child might start a new project or just read and learn.

Gather the materials to build a fairy garden, create your own DIY space camp at home, or build  a minibeast hotel and go out into your garden to find minibeasts.

Whatever they are interested in there are resources to gather and find out there!

I don't know about you, but new (to me) books, brochures, leaflets and ephemera always pique my interest and often lead to a whole new strand of learning.

Unit studies are a great place and we have a ton of ideas over on our shop, whether they love penguins or space.

Print one out, add some books and maybe some fun resources or toys and you have a few days' of a fun and absorbing project to do.

Younger kids will love these super cute pretend play packs that combine fun with learning and will keep them busy for hours!

Want to give unit studies a try at no cost? Did you know we have a FREE Sea Turtles unit study over in our Teachers Pay teachers shop?

Board games are also a great way to reinforce concepts from maths to English language.

Grab the sea turtles unit study, a few books about ocean animals and this fun Ocean Bingo game and you're good to go!

4. Go on Fun Field Trips

In addition to the library, there are so many cool places to take your kids where they can not only have fun, but learn something new.

Look for local spots such as nature centres, national parks, museums, historic houses and more.

Field trips are a great way to make history come alive for your kids.

You can also see if there are any local farms that would be willing to let your kids come for a visit.

Your local fire station, police station and factories may also be open to showing the kids round so give them a call to find out.

If you're in the UK, check out our guides to the best places to visit with kids in different counties.

5. Learn on the Go

Summer is the perfect time to get out and learn as you go.

Some homeschool families go full in on roadschooling, living in an RV and learning on the road.

Why not emulate that lifestyle a little bit this summer?

Get out there and visit as many local attractions as you can, from Iron Age hill forts to Medieval castles, the UK has so much to offer - and so many opportunities to learn.

In the US, there are plenty of small local museums, historical sites and more.

Grab a coffee and get on Google for a half hour to find out what's near you. I guarantee there will be some amazing places you can visit at minimal cost.

** Secret homeschool tip:

Get chatting to guides and enthusiastic looking folk. Some people's local and subject specific knowledge is extraordinary and they LOVE to engage kids in their interests.

Our girls have learnt about soil samples, listened to tree sap rising, observed rare insects, learnt about historical periods and more from keen bystanders who wanted to share their knowledge.

6. Attend Summertime Community Events

Speaking of your community, chances are there are organizations (including the library and local community centres) that host fun and educational family events all through the summer months.

You can probably fill your calendar with a ton of cool things to do!

Check local press, the Facebook events tab and local notice boards for ideas.

7. Encourage their Interests

I know I've already said this, but following your child's interests really is key to getting them engaged with learning during the summer months.

Stick a box of LEGO in the car or on the patio then add a 30 day LEGO challenge for some on-the-go STEM learning.

It may be summer, but that doesn't mean that the learning has to stop.

Nor does it mean you need to grab some worksheets and sit the kids down for drills!

How can you include some learning while your family is on the go this summer?

Can you teach them map skills as you plan your trips?

Pick up a pile of fascinating books from your local charity shop / thrift store?

8. Do Outdoors Science Experiments and Activities

The beauty of science is that it’s literally all around you.

You can turn almost anything into a science lesson!

And summer time is a great time to try out some of the ones that are best suited for the outdoors. 

Identify plants, then talk about photosynthesis and plant life cycles.

Track bugs and other animals, then research and talk about them

Search for shapes in the clouds, then talk about how clouds are formed and the different types.

Grab a telescope and search the night sky, then talk about the constellations. The possibilities are limitless!

You could even set up your own DIY summer science camp at home with these STEM ideas:

9. Have Outdoor Art Sessions

Want to encourage your child’s creativity?

Grab some art supplies, head outside, and let their imaginations soar!

You can even show them how to create art from nature.

10. TV

And finally, don't overlook the power of kids' favourite pastime!

There are tons of educational shows to watch on Disney+ but don't overlook the appeal - and draw - of documentaries on other channels.

YouTube is full of fun learning videos for kids and David Attenborough programmes are always a hit.

Whether they are fascinated by mammals, underwater life, Stonehenge or dinosaurs, there are tons of amazing and fascinating nature documentaries out there so do some research and put together a playlist.

The next TV watch might even inspire some strewing, art, science, further research or even a field trip.

Where could your summer take you?

These are just a few fun summer activities that can keep the learning going even while you’re taking a break from school or homeschool.

With a little creativity, you can help your child keep learning this summer.

And this will inevitably make back to school easier for you and your kids too!

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