Avoid Summer Learning Loss

My boys are launching into their second full week of summer vacation. They are in full summer mode, staying up too late and sleeping in as only growing teens can sleep.

One fact of life around our home is summer work. Since their early elementary years, we have prioritized staying on task during summer, supplementing what they have learned during the year with fun summer learning activities. We visit the library at least once a week and frequently spend summer evenings listening to books on CD together. I so greatly admire homeschooling families who commit to home education as a way of life — I'm challenged just doing this for two and a half months each year!

I read a frightening statistic today on "Summer Loss" from Johns Hopkins University.

On average, all students, regardless of socio-economic status, lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation over the summer months. Researchers speculate that summer learning losses in mathematics are similar among lower and middle-income students because all students are less likely to practice math skills outside the formal classroom setting.


Summer "school" at our house takes less than an hour a day. I tend to focus on Math and Reading. I have also used the Summer Bridge books in previous years when the boys were younger. These affordable paperback books provide a good variety of content and take less than half an hour per day.

Our family has also enjoyed some other, non-traditional learning activities during the summer. Travel affords an excellent opportunity to learn geography, social studies, and writing through journaling. One summer, my boys collaborated to write an epic story together. Another summer, they wrote and filmed a blockbuster movie set on an alien planet. Their summer writing journals are treasured peeks into the past from their unique childhood perspective.

You may not win popularity points with your children for making them sit down and do math problems during the summer, but someday they will thank you. Our children's future productivity and learning success could depend greatly on what we do as families during these lazy days of summer.


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of www.CatholicMom.com and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at LisaHendey.com.

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