Practicing math over the summer will help you:
- Combat summer skill loss
- Start out next year strong and confident – and ready to learn new skills, instead of having to re-learn ones from last year
Did your learner struggle with math this year? Especially toward the end? If so, you’re not alone. Here’s why this is so common:
As we work on math skills throughout the school year, there are three levels of fluency that the skills will probably arrive at:
- Some skills are able to be developed to mastery. This means that you are fast, fluent, and at about 95% accuracy, even if it’s been weeks or months since you’ve done such a problem.
- Then there those skills that are developed to a level of relative comfort, meaning that while you’re on the relevant chapter or unit (or with a little reminder) you can do the problems at about 80% or better.
- And then there are skills that didn’t get a chance to take root before it was time to move on to the next lesson. Usually when you see problems like these again, you feel dread. You might say something like “Oh, I hated these!” or feel inadequate that you never “got” them.
When faced with a math problem that falls into this last category, you might not even know where to begin. If you can get started, there is often a “break-down” (point which you can’t get past), or a “hold-up” (something that slows you down terribly and breaks your flow). The amazing thing about 1:1 work with a skilled tutor is that your tutor can observe at precisely what point the break-down or hold-up is happening. And they can help you fix it!
During the school year, however–depending on the demands of your math class and the frequency of your tutoring schedule– there is sometimes insufficient time for working skills to total mastery. There is the pressure to keep up with the pace of the class, even if it means moving on when you don’t feel entirely ready. The further along you get in the school year, the higher the number of shaky skills you’re likely to have.
Enter Summer! Summer provides the perfect environment for revisiting the trouble spots from the last year. Without the competition of school work, you can repair the break-downs and hold-ups AS they happen. With such a sequential subject as math, the stronger your foundation, the easier it is to fully understand and incorporate each new skill as it is added. Mastery of all of the smaller elements is what makes a math problem seem easy and even fun. The more skills you have at the easy and fun level, the more enjoyable your academic career will be.
Statistics show that most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Practicing math over the summer not only combats this, but can get you ahead. The difference between being a tiny step behind your class and a tiny step ahead of your class is HUGE.