Summer holidays are here (or just around the corner) for those of you living in the Northern hemisphere.
Time to pack away those school text books and forget about homework. Instead, days basking in the sun, going to beaches, hanging out with friends and visiting interesting destinations come to mind!
But did you know that summer is also the time when you can lose what you have learned - a phenomenon known as learning loss? It is said that on average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level knowledge in math and reading skills over the summer months.
Reason For The Holidays
In the late 18th century, school calendars differed in city and rural areas. Schools in cities operated year-round with just a few short breaks. However going to school was not mandatory and attendance used to be low.
This led experts to wonder if a long academic calendar was worthwhile. Some reformers also felt that too much of school could lead to burn out. Meanwhile, sickness and poor health used to be common in 18th century because of poorly ventilated classrooms. City officials heeded the warning of reformers and shortened the school year by a quarter. Summer was picked over other months because diseases would spread easily during the hot months. Besides, wealthy city dwellers traditionally went away on vacations during summer.
On the other hand, school districts in rural areas had quite different academic calendars. In the 19th century, rural kids spent just five or six months in school - two to three months in summer and the same in winter - and the rest of the year laboring on farms. So while educators in cities were worried that children were overtaxed by their busy schedule, officials in rural areas thought their students were not challenged enough.
It was in the early 20th century that public-school officials in many farm states lengthened the academic year and introduced a summer break to bring agrarian schools in line with urban schools.
Prevent Summer Learning Loss
So, what can you do to make sure you stay sharp, while at the same time have fun over summer?
- Stay up-to-date with things around you by reading newspapers and children's magazines like Youngzine.
- One of the the biggest education loss is in area of reading. Pick up books from your library and put up your feet either at the beach or on your couch with a book in hand.
- Put together a schedule to keep your brain cells active. Try puzzles and brain games to keep your brain sharp and recharged.
- Statistics suggests that weight gain is the most during summer. Plan interesting activities with friends and kids in the neighborhood like cycling, swimming or going for a walk. Remember to get some exercise.
- For some kids, summer is a good time to earn some money. Think up ways to be creative and productive. Who knows, you may be learning the early ropes of your future vocation.