SOURCE: K12

July 18, 2011 05:00 ET

Summer Smarts

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - Jul 18, 2011) - (Family Features) The lazy days of summer are meant to be enjoyable, but it's no surprise they can also be a drain on a child's education.

  • On average, kids lose more than two months of math and science knowledge during the summer.
  • Teachers spend an average of 4 to 6 weeks re-teaching basic skills taught the previous year.

Luckily, boosting kids' brain power doesn't have to mean hitting the books all summer -- it can actually be fun. "It's important to keep children's minds active during the hazy days of summer," said John Holdren, SVP of Content and Curriculum for K12, a leader in online learning for grades K through 12. "There are plenty of everyday activities -- games, puzzles, books, projects -- as well as flexible online courses that can help kids catch up, stay sharp, or get ahead, while still leaving plenty of time for fun in the sun."

Tips for Parents

  • Talk about topics that interest your kids and find books that match. Reading just 4 to 5 books over the summer can prevent reading loss.
  • Get involved by asking questions about the books they're reading. Open-ended discussion questions such as "Tell me how you relate to the lead character," help them remember information and articulate their thoughts.
  • Look for educational websites, toys and games that reinforce reading skills.
  • Encourage your kids to start up a lemonade stand. This teaches organization, communication and math skills.
  • Have your kids organize a book swap with friends to trade gently-used books.
  • Invite the kids to take an online class specifically for K through 12 students on a subject that interests them, but is not typically offered during the school year, perhaps French or Web design.
  • Go grocery shopping with your children. While at the grocery store, let them add up the price of the groceries to help keep math skills sharp.
  • Let your kids teach you how to use a computer. Using technology comes naturally to children who were born in the Internet age. Letting them be the teacher helps develop valuable comprehension skills they will need as they grow and develop.
  • Teach your kids life skills, such as cooking, animal care, or basic home repair. They can help integrate reading, math and critical thinking skills with real-life application.

The dog days of summer can be a busy time for parents, so combat summer brain drain with the power of the Internet. "The best part about online classes is that kids can learn wherever there is an Internet connection, giving them the ability to learn anytime and anyplace," said John Holden. "Classes from K12 make learning not only interactive, but flexible and innovative."

Summer doesn't have to be a brain drain. Get involved with your kids this summer and encourage them to be lifelong learners.

To find out more about individualized online learning options for kids in kindergarten through high school, visit www.K12.com.

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