Have your kids ever experienced a decreased learning capacity and declining academic performance after a long break? You’ve probably dismissed it as a personal challenge that just needs to be diligently worked through, like lots of people. Everybody has up and down days, after all.
In fact, this slump in learning is actually way more common than you might think. What your kids might be experiencing is actually a common phenomenon called ”summer slide.” Researchers and educators have studied the ways that learning is affected by prolonged breaks from school, and the results seem to point to one surefire way to keep your kids’ brains sharp over the summer: just keep learning.
What is summer slide?
Researchers have been studying about the concept of the summer learning loss as far back as 1996 when Harris Cooper et al conducted an analytical review of 39 different studies and established that students suffer a significant learning loss over summer break.
According to this meta-analysis, when children spend several months away from school during the summer, they lose about one month’s worth of learning on average, most notably in math computing and spelling.
As a result of this learning loss, educators have to spend several weeks revising previous lessons when school reopens.
What can you do to prevent summer slide?
While the phenomenon occurs indiscriminately across different groups, there are plenty of factors that can contribute to its occurrence and severity. What’s possibly the most apparent determining factor is the amount of reading and learning done at home during the break.
Many students just stop engaging in intellectually stimulating activities once they leave their classrooms. These students will most likely fall behind significantly in the classroom compared their classmates who have done their summer reading at home. So the solution is clear: reading and keeping yourself mentally stimulated even when you’re on a break from school will help you retain your previous lessons and keep your brain warmed up to absorb new information.
However, vacations exist for a reason. Students do need some time off from their regular schoolwork just to unwind and engage in other activities. It would not be ideal or even possible to try and learn on the same level as the classroom during summer breaks.
So what exactly can be done at home to prevent this? More importantly, how can you prevent learning loss without taking away from the fun of the summer vacation? How much time should you dedicate to stimulating your brain during school breaks?
On the most basic level, reading books can be a fun and fulfilling activity that will significantly alleviate the risk of a learning loss, especially when it comes to vocabulary and spelling. At the same time, according to Harris Cooper et al’s comparative study of the learning loss levels across different subjects, fields like mathematics, which is more intellectually tasking than other subjects, needs more attention.
The amount of learning loss is found to be the most drastic in subjects like these where simply reading is not sufficient to revise the lessons. Students will benefit from a carefully planned summer study routine that will evenly cover different subjects. An appropriate study plan will focus on keeping the minds active enough to retain information but not overworking it to the point where you risk burnout.
Strategies for preventing summer slide at home
Since only a few hours of your vacation time can be dedicated to learning, you’d need to make the most efficient use of your time. If you aren’t a trained educator, this might be difficult. Finding the right balance between sufficient learning and not overworking is no easy feat. This is why getting help from a professional will make a world of difference.
A trained tutor can map out a lesson plan that‘s just enough to keep their student’s brain stimulated to prevent a summer slide, but not too overwhelming that it takes away the fun of the vacation. Rather than just blindly learning or adhering strictly to textbook resources without much guidance, a tutor personalizes learning to each individual student, which makes learning quicker and longer-lasting.
How does tutoring work?
Unlike classroom teaching, tutoring provides customized instruction through interactive sessions.
In the classroom, a teacher needs to consider all their students’ collective requirements and plan their lessons accordingly. With tutoring, the tutor focuses solely on that one student’s personal needs and challenges, so it’s easier to teach and structure material in a way that can best benefit the student.
One important factor that affects the learning capacity of a student is the instructor. Educators have their own unique ways of teaching just like students have their own way of absorbing and retaining information. This is why it’s necessary to find an instructor whose teaching method works best for the student.
With tutoring, you have the opportunity to choose your own tutors and find your perfect match. It’s easy to find the perfect tutor on Wyzant who checks all the boxes for you or your kids. Online tutoring allows you to choose from a diverse selection of qualified tutors from anywhere in the world and in any subject.
What type of tutoring can you get?
These days, tutoring can be done either in-person or online. While some people may find in-person teaching more effective, online tutoring provides a more convenient learning experience and diverse tutoring options.
If your kids are comfortable and attentive with in-person tutoring, then you can easily browse through a list of available tutors in your area and arrange a session that’s convenient for everyone’s schedule. The downside to in-person teaching is that you’ll have to find a tutor who’s based around your area, which will narrow down your options significantly depending on your location.
For more specialized help, or more convenience, you may opt for online tutoring. This is not really an issue as long as you have internet access since online learning tools have become so much more advanced in the past few years. Your young students can have an easy interactive session online in real time, just like they would in a physical meeting.
How does online tutoring work?
One major benefit of the new technological advancement in recent years is that education has become so much more accessible. As long as you have access to the internet, you can find countless educational resources from the comfort of your own home.
Through online tutoring portals like Wyzant’s Online Learning tool, your kids can have one-on-one interactive video-chat sessions with your tutor anywhere you are. This tool also features a real-time interactive whiteboard for solving equations and plotting graphs, so the student and tutor can easily work through problems together just like any physical classroom.
You can easily test out this tool through the demo room, a very handy feature where you can check out all the features of the online tool. This way you can help your child utilize it to its full capacity during the actual tutoring session. You can also download a copy of the whiteboard after the lesson and even use the recording feature to easily review and revise your child’s past sessions.
Why online tutoring is perfect for summer breaks
No matter where you are in the world, as long as you have access to the internet, you can get online tutoring classes in any subject you want. This is why online tutoring is the most convenient option for learning during a school break. With online tutoring, you don’t have to miss out on your summer learning even if you’re travelling during the break.
Since there are tutors available from all around the world working from different time zones, scheduling your sessions around your vacation plans is easy as you can always find a tutor who will work at any hour that’s convenient for you. As long as you can schedule a session that wouldn’t interfere with your family’s plans, you can still enjoy your break at its fullest while still dedicating some time for learning.
Besides, online tutoring classes don’t take much time out of your day as you don’t have to spend any extra time beyond the scheduled session duration, unlike physical tutoring where you’d have to spare some extra time in commuting. When the process is uncomplicated and low effort, learning doesn’t feel like a chore for the student. It can be a fun and motivating experience for the student while still yielding optimal results.
Now that online tutoring sites have come up with advanced learning tools, there’s not much that can’t be done online that you can do in physical tutoring classes. You get all the benefits and convenience through online tutoring classes without compromising on the quality and effectiveness of the lessons.
How to find the right tutor
When it comes to tutoring, there’s nothing more important than finding the right tutor for you. Luckily, you have the option to just take your pick from a selection of highly qualified instructors. You can either browse for tutors and select one from a list of available tutors, or request one and let the tutors apply for the job.
If you’re going to search for a tutor, first you’d have to select your subject and answer a few questions that’ll help you narrow down your search. You can also skip this step and manually browse through all available tutors. Then you’ll get a list of tutors who best match your requirements; narrowed down to concerned subject, grade level, etc. From here you can pick a tutor and message them directly to see if they’re the right option.
Once you’ve settled on a tutor after talking to them, you can start booking sessions.
On Wyzant, if you end up feeling unsatisfied with your first session, you can get your first hour for free thanks to the Good Fit Guarantee. You don’t have to worry about making the wrong call and wasting your money on a session that didn’t work for you. In the unlikely case that the tutor you selected did not meet your expectation, you can easily switch to a different tutor and try another session.
Summer learning without the loss
Maintaining the same routine all through the year will wear anyone out; the few months you get to spend away from school are an opportunity for some much needed play time. Yet as you spend your breaks engaging in other fun activities, you’re also at risk of a summer learning loss that will seriously affect your academic capacity in the long run.
While it’s important to spend your breaks as it is intended, you also have to dedicate a few hours a week for summer learning to prevent a learning loss. When you don’t have a lot of time to spare for learning, you have to make the best use of what little time you can spend on it. The most effective direction you can take is opting for tutoring lessons.
When it comes to making the most out of your study time, nothing beats getting lessons from trained professionals who can give you exactly what you need, anywhere you are and at any time of the day.