Want to know a secret? Kids don’t get summer vacation because Alberta’s farming families needed their kids in July and August. Ask any farmer or rancher. Between calving and planting, the vast majority of the work is in spring not summer. The real reason there’s no school in summer is rich families several decades ago had summer estates, and they wanted to take their kids with them. They could also afford tutors, so the two months out of school wasn’t a problem for their kids. Unfortunately that isn’t true for everyone else.
Over a century of research has taught us that the “summer slide” isn’t just real, but that it can be detrimental to a kid’s education. First noted in 1906, summer learning loss hasn’t improved with the decades. The problem is summer is a time for stagnation for many kids. There are all sorts of learning — not just books and tests, but many kids aren’t having adventures and experiences that stimulate the mind or make them think. More and more, kids just sit on the couch and watch tv for two months solid while their parents are busy at work.
On the other hand, we can’t make kids go to school all year round. Not only would they likely mutiny at the idea, but their teachers would be with them. Whether we like it or not, teachers need the break during the summer months to recharge from a year of go-go-go, and we owe them that break. So what’s a parent to do?
Fortunately, this problem isn’t impossible to solve. You just need to make sure your kid keeps using their brain and staying engaged with challenging material. Discuss what you see on the news or read in the paper, debate the merits of political positions, and watch youtube channels like crashcourse or smartereveryday. Finally, help your kids to pick up new skills and participate in novel experiences. Summer is great time to learn how to swim or how to build a tree fort. These activities might seem solely physical, but there’s a lot going on in a kid’s mind as they learn to hammer properly and perfect their front stroke.
Another great idea for keep your teen sharp and ready to learn is to have them solve challenging puzzles. We suggest our escape rooms at Esxoss Manways. Our rooms are technologically advanced, and in many ways, it’s like playing a videogame but in real life. Your kid will need to think on their feet, with a tight timeline, and they’ll need to show leadership in directing their friends to solve the clues. There’s as much to be learned by playing escape rooms as there is in practicing cooking, sewing, or changing a tire.
At Esxoss Manway, we work with a lot of Calgary teens. They’re a great bunch, and we hope to see them more often now that summer is here. If you want to help your kid stay smart this summer, keep their brain active with our puzzling escape rooms! Schedule an adventure today.