7 Ways to Avoid the Summer Slump

July 25, 2013
Summer is a great time to be a student - more free time and less stress can help you clear your thoughts, establish your goals and explore new interests. You could pick up a hobby, learn a new language, or learn how to play an instrument! However, some students find it difficult to stay motivated with a less structured schedule and fall victim to learning loss over the summer months.

WyzAnt.com, the largest tutoring marketplace on the web, recently polled over 300 private tutors nationwide, asking for tips to help keep students actively learning this summer. The following suggestions will help you make the most of your free time while avoiding the dreaded summer slump:
  1. Stay on schedule. Some students have a hard time adjusting to an "open" schedule after a school year jam-packed with homework and extracurricular activities. To combat the anxiety that comes without having a routine, Shara M. from Jupiter, Florida, says, "create a schedule for yourself. This may involve things as simple as feeding your pets, going for a jog, playing basketball for an hour, reading a challenging book each day, brainstorming creative projects, or researching things you enjoy learning about. Also, practice getting up early a few weeks before school starts, so your body will not feel such a drastic change as you reacclimate to your school schedule.”

  2. There may be no free lunch, but there are free events! Think museums are just for field trips during the school year or that you’ve outgrown the zoo? Think again! "Museums are awesome in the summer, since they offer new programs for students and there is always something new to learn, see, and experience. Many museums have special promotions offering free admission," says Carol S. from Hollister, Massachusetts. Check out free events in your area or use a search engine to find free local events that interest you!

  3. Build vocabulary on the fly. Whether you’re reading or listening to someone speak, you encounter new words every day. Sheila R. from Killeen, Texas, suggests students “create and maintain a vocabulary list, especially for new words you encounter during everyday activities. Use a dictionary or Internet search to learn the definition of new words you come across.” Review your vocabulary list every day and choose a one word each day and try to use it at least three times in conversation. You can even try downloading a vocabulary app for your smartphone! Apps like Word SLapPs allow you to enter your own vocabulary words and definitions, and then review them on a regular basis.

  4. Read all about it. "Where are you going on vacation? What is the history of the activity you are planning to do this weekend? Challenge yourself to do a little digging as you tackle your bucket list this summer. Be curious and ask yourself questions, then find out the answers!" urges Maria H. from Austin, Texas. You’ll learn a lot more by researching topics you find interesting such as: What is the rarest species in Yellowstone National Park? The more learning you can do in a real life context, the more information will “stick”.

  5. Become an author. “Writing your own story, blog, or poem, can be exhilarating. Watch people around you, listen to conversations, or just take in nature, and you've got some pretty good material to work with. When complete, you can share your work with your family and friends, and see experience how it feels to be an author,” says Angela P. from Lee, New Hampshire. If you’re trying to become a better storyteller, look for inspiration from existing stories. “After watching a movie, write about your favorite part. Then, identify a part that you disliked and write an alternative storyline. This will get you thinking critically and creatively,” advises Julie S. from San Jose, California.

  6. Be proactive for your future. Summer is a great opportunity to take a step back and look at your interests and goals from a broader perspective. Take some time to consider what career you’d like to pursue or what short-term and long-term goals you’d like to achieve. This shows a drive to succeed! While brainstorming goals and career aspirations, tap into connections from your friends and family to interview people within an industry you’re interested in learning more about. If you don’t have any connections, don’t give up! Many business professionals are open to having a conversation with motivated students who take the initiative to think about their futures.

  7. Teach yourself a new skill. Not only will you expand your knowledge base, but “you will also engage the skills necessary to become a researcher and self-motivator. It may seem more difficult than having someone else teach or explain it to you, but in the end, the accomplishment of teaching yourself will be far more rewarding. You will also retain the information for a much longer period of time. Once you learn your new skill or topic, teach someone else. This is the true test as to whether or not you have really mastered something!” advises Shara.
These suggestions are not limited to the summer months, but taking advantage of your down time will help prevent the learning loss that is a reality for many students. If you need extra support to put these ideas into action, search and hire a private tutor today. While the majority of tutors on WyzAnt.com teach traditionally academic subjects like math, science and Language Arts, there are many alternative options such as sports coaching, creative writing, graphic arts and career counseling. Check out the options available to you today!

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