In a recent entry on Edutopia, educator Anne OBrien highlights one pervasive danger of summertime: summer learning loss. Many students experience this phenomenon, losing much of the knowledge and skills they learned in the preceding academic year while school is not in session. Describing some reasons why schools are largely unable to combat this problem, Anne suggests steps that both communities and individuals can take to keep kids engaged with the material they have learned. In general, it seems that intellectual engagement of any sort, be it from reading, volunteering, or attending any educational programs, will help students. Complete idleness is the enemy, and parents should encourage their children to be active in some manner. See our previous blog posts about summer reading for gifted students and opportunities for online learning for ideas to help in the battle against summer learning loss.
You can visit the National Summer Learning Association's page for pdf downloads that further discuss summer learning loss, share information about those populations most severely affected, and offer more ideas to counter the problem.