What is the summertime slump? Does it exist? How can you avoid it? Should you even avoid it?
Six week break
Six weeks away from school! Six weeks without books or lessons, six weeks without homework and marking. Do they affect children? Of course they do. All teachers are aware of the summertime slump and the way it affects kids as they move into their new school year. For younger children, moving into year 1 or year 2, missing out on six weeks of school is a massive chunk of their school career. It's not unusual for them to take until October half-term just to get back to where they were at the end of the last school year.
Opinion is divided as to whether the summertime slump matters. Because if it affects everyone, surely it doesn't? But, like many things in education, it doesn't affect everyone equally. Rightly or wrongly, some parents will continue to push their children hard to keep learning throughout the holidays. Other families will take their foot firmly off the pedal - and it will be those children that fall behind in September.
There have been calls to make the summer holidays shorter to reduce the effect of the summertime slump, but that opens up a whole can of worms around pricing and availability of holidays. The likelihood is that this isn't going to happen any time soon, so it's up to you, as parents, to decide what's right for your family.
Keep up the good work!
Here at INICIO, we say why not take the middle ground? Don't turn off education completely, but don't push too hard. After all, the summer holidays are supposed to be time to take a break and recharge the batteries. At INICIO, we're open all year round and would encourage families to keep up with their weekly lesson of an hour and 20 minutes to halt the slump.
You can also encourage your children to keep reading - buy some new books or go to the library (many libraries do the Summer Reading Challenge for 4-11 year olds - great for getting kids enthused by books). Whether you're off on holiday or staying at home, encourage them to look at the world around them - and if they spot anything new, let them look it up on the internet and find out more. Does your school use online tools like Bug Club for reading or Mathletics for maths? Many children find these as much fun as games, but they are learning as they play. Why not encourage them to play a few times over the holidays?
Puzzle books, magazines, online games and even the right sort of television can all help towards learning. The holidays are also a great time to practise sport; a fit and healthy body helps with a fit and healthy mind.
Enjoy the break, but enjoy a bit of learning too. Happy holidays!