Help kids add to and multiply their math skills over the summer

Three months is a long time in a child’s world. While summer is a great time to kick back and chill, 12 weeks without reinforcing learning really is a stretch. The lessons learned in February tend to fade to “forgotten” in July.

The National Summer Learning Association reports that research spanning a century consistently shows that kids score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do at the beginning. The Association also notes that “Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.” While this has proven true across 100 years, math standards have become more demanding in recent years, producing more of a deficit when skills roll backwards.

Reading, once learned, is part of everyone’s daily life, even small children. However, this is less true of math in the early years. Crystal Yednak, writing for Great Schools, quotes Linda Gojak, president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), as saying, “Even though we as adults use mathematics every day of our lives, I’m not sure kids do.”

Increasingly, too, schools are integrating math skills vs. teaching them as seemingly separate skills with no apparent relationship. While algebra and geometry were long associated with high school, much of it is now part of the middle school curriculum, and the fundamentals and the overall “build” in these core skills, begin much earlier.

PBS Parents provides a concise, thorough summary of math milestones, beginning with babies and toddlers. Once school has begun, skills are introduced and developed fast. For example, in addition to basic addition and subtraction, many first graders are beginning to solve basic word problems and also exploring early fractions. Other key areas in first and second grade math include numbers; geometry (shapes and space); measurement; patterns, reasoning, and algebra; and statistics and probability.

Workbooks are a great way to reduce the “summer slide” related to math proficiency. A few selections include Transition Math K-1 Deluxe Edition, Addition & Subtraction 1-2 Deluxe Edition, Time, Money & Fractions 1-2 Deluxe Edition, Math Basics 2 Deluxe Edition, Math Basics 3 Deluxe Edition, Math Basics 4 Deluxe Edition, Multiplication & Division 3-4 Deluxe Edition, and Math Basics 5 Deluxe Edition.

Keeping skills sharp over the summer months gives kids an edge in September and beyond.