Have you heard of the “summer slide”? The term refers to when kids lose some of their academic gains from the school year over the summer, and it’s a very real thing for many students.
The subject where the loss occurs can vary, but math is a common area to lose some ground in, as many students – and their parents – don’t always see how math exists or is beneficial outside of the classroom.
A math help app, along with an online math tutor, can ensure that your student regularly practices math activities during the summer and stays on track as they head into the next school year, while still allowing your family the flexibility to enjoy the summer months.
The Impact of the Summer Slide
According to this article on the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s website, students lose approximately 2.6 months of math learning over the summer, and teachers have to use class time to make up for the loss, preventing them from moving forward.
The article goes on to say that many people don’t realize math’s impact outside of the classroom, and parents may be less inclined to practice math at home.
“Parents often think that their kids learn math in school, and that it’s sort of the school’s domain,” says doctoral student Kathleen Lynch in the article. Math is more easily overlooked than subjects like reading, and trying to build a bedtime math routine is often not as appealing as a reading routine, especially if your child is already struggling with the subject.
Moving from a grade school to a middle school program or changing schools entirely can leave some students even further behind if the new teacher picks up in a different place from where your student left off.
Math is a subject that builds on itself, so mastering early topics is essential to staying on track and progressing as the subject gets more difficult.
The Harvard group tested the effects of assigning students math worksheets over the summer, which alone resulted in little improvement. They recommend an integrated approach that also provides direct guidance – like with an online tutor.
The right math help app, such as Thinkster Math, can provide a combination of both online tutoring and additional math practice and worksheets to give your student the right balance to keep their math skills sharp during the summer months.
But Summer is So Busy!
Summer is supposed to be a time to relax, but we all know that sometimes the summer months can seem just as busy – if not more so – as months during the school year.
As a parent, you’re trying to work and keep your regular schedule while keeping your kids entertained, fed and somewhat productive. Sports and other activities usually continue or increase during the summer months. You may be planning a vacation or a trip to see family, and the few months you have seem to go by fast.
Through all this, you want to make sure your student stays on track with math. If they’re already struggling, this is crucial to their continued success, and the information above proves this is important even for students who do well in math.
Taking a complete break can lead to a loss of knowledge, and you want to avoid that if you can — while still having summer fun.
A Math Tutor App Can Help Fit Learning into Summer Vacation
With the information above, you probably recognize the need for some type of math tutoring for your student during the summer.
But if you find a local, in-person tutor or a tutoring center that you trust, it can still be hard to make appointments at scheduled times, and you run the risk of missing sessions – sometimes that you’ve already paid for – due to family trips or other responsibilities.
The solution? A math tutor app or math tutoring program that includes online tutoring is the ideal way to keep your child learning math throughout the summer months and into the next school year. Below are some tips to make a math help app work for you and your student.
Set Up a Summertime Routine and a Regular Tutoring Schedule
Establishing a daily routine for completing math worksheets or spending time on Thinkster can be crucial to your student’s math success.
If your student seems alert in the morning, have them do a few math worksheets or a specific math lesson before the day begins. This gets it taken care of early and the rest of the day can be dedicated to fun things. If mornings don’t work, try to set the same rules for an after-dinner routine: a few math worksheets need to be completed before going to play with friends or watching a television show.
When it comes to tutoring sessions, it’s also important to set up a regular schedule with your tutor – keeping a semblance of regularity is important.
Try to schedule it when there are few distractions, and at a time your student can focus without being too tired. Pick a day of the week that you know will be less busy than the others.
Whatever fits best in your family’s schedule, it’s important that you stick to the routine. This will help show your student how important the extra math work is and turn it into a habit.
Let Your Child Learn at Their Own Pace
When your child is struggling with learning a certain subject, it’s natural to want to push them to do better. This can have positive results when done the right way, but sometimes it can be better to let them take things at their own pace. Too much pressure can cause students to rush and stress over their math work, and this is not conducive to their efforts either.
The Scholastic article mentioned above explains it like this: “Encouraging your child to think mathematically at his own pace, rather than ‘rushing’ him or showing him how to solve a problem, is an excellent way to meet his need for creative intellectual activity.”
Everyone learns in different ways and at different rates. Allowing your student to learn on his or her own time, along with math homework help from you or a tutor, can provide that added layer of support they need to excel.
Using some of the tips above to sneak math into daily life can be a great way to prod them into math learning without them even realizing it or feeling any pressure. Freedom to learn in the way that is right for them can be great for their mathematical mind and mental well-being in general.
Supplement with Math Fun
Along with math worksheets and tutoring sessions, make sure to include some fun activities in your student’s routine! You can offer rewards or incentives for completing assignments, or associate math concepts with their favorite hobbies, such as sports or cooking. Take a look at some of our ideas here for making math work both fun and rewarding.
Beyond pointing out the obvious, you can use these math concepts from the real world to create word problems for your student to work on. Have them figure out how many outfit combinations they have based on certain types of clothing in their closet or have them figure out distance, speed and time while driving.
You’ll find the more you think about this, you can come up with math problems out of almost every scenario.
Incorporate Your Babysitter Into Your Summer Plans
If you have child care or a babysitter watching your children during the summer, get them involved in your student’s math routine. Have them make sure your child is using the app throughout the day or before they go out to play.
Ask your babysitter to point out math concepts in everyday scenarios the same way you would – we all know that sometimes children like to listen to people other than their parents. If your sitter has an extensive background working with children, they may be able to come up with unique ideas that you didn’t think of to teach your child math problems.
We know it’s hard to keep up with everything you need to do for work and for your family, but the beauty of using a math tutor app like Thinkster is that you can regularly check your student’s math progress to be sure that they’re using it and getting better. And, you can check it on your own schedule – even the middle of the night if you prefer.
Thinkster has a Parent App that you can use to make sure your child is staying on track, and you can reach out to your student’s math tutor using your preferred digital method for regular progress updates.
Using the app’s progress function, you can stay on top of what your child is learning – or not learning – and make adjustments as needed.
Take Your Math Tutor on Vacation with You – Sort Of
Taking a summer vacation is a highlight for many families, but you may be worried that this will take time away from your student’s math work and set them back even more.
But with a math tutor app, you can take your online tutor with you on vacation (so to speak) and keep your child’s regular tutoring schedule. Just bring your favorite device and find a Wi-Fi connection!
Taking a brief time out during your vacation to keep up with tutoring can be valuable to your student’s education and let them get math help without feeling left out or keeping the rest of the family from having a fun time. It’s a win-win for all.
Try Our Math Tutor App This Summer
If you’re looking for a math help app that includes one-on-one online tutoring as well as unlimited math worksheets for added practice, test preparation and homework help, you’ve come to the right place.
You can find all of these things within Thinkster’s technology-enabled tutoring program. It’s a math tutor app that you can take with you on all of your devices – and so much more.
And, you can try it for free for 7 days right now. Give Thinkster a try – with summer fast approaching, don’t let your student experience the summer slide ever again.