Beat the summer math slump: Why it happens, and how you can help your kid counteract it

Beat the summer math slump: Why it happens, and how you can help your kid counteract it

Pools and problems. Fishing and fractions. Laying out and long division.

For many of us, summer and math just don’t exactly go hand-in-hand. The same is true for our kids, and it’s part of the “summer slide” phenomenon.

RELATED: 3 ways to help your kid prevent the dreaded “summer slide” in reading

On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of learning in math over the summer, according to Harvard Graduate School of Education research, and teachers have to give up weeks of class time, or more, to counteract that loss.

It’s actually easier for kids to forget what they learn in math over the summer months than it is for them to lose reading skills.

The reason? Many parents, and their kids, don’t think about math outside the classroom. While reading activities are often part of a family’s daily life, math routines don’t have the same allure.

Here are four ways to beat the summer math slump, according to Harvard University.

1. Find the math in everyday activities. When shopping, help kids calculate change or discounts. When watching a baseball game, talk about what players’ statistics mean. When cooking, try halving or doubling a recipe, and assist kids in figuring out the new proportions.

2. Read short math stories together. Studies have shown that reading math-focused stories to children, such as Bedtime Math books or the Family Math series, can help boost math scores in school.

3. Play math games. Games like Yahtzee, Racko, Blokus, Monopoly, and Set all rely on skills necessary for math, such as counting, categorizing, and building. Even playing with blocks and assembling jigsaw puzzles can help kids learn spatial skills and recognize patterns.

4. Find small ways to practice math at home. While worksheets alone won’t solve summer math slump, small amounts of practice with basic formulas can help. Problem-of-the-day math calendars are a great way to practice basic math problems on a small scale. Parents can also find resources on Investigations about what types of mathematical procedures they should be practicing with their children.

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