3 questions to ask your child's teacher before summer begins

During the summer months, many children experience what is known as the summer brain drain. That is, they return to school in the fall with learning loss, meaning teachers often have to spend the first three to four weeks of the new school year reteaching concepts students learned the year before.  

How do you curb summer brain drain? Why not ask your child’s teacher? This is one trusted adult in your child’s life who knows your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses; they should have some great advice to keep you (and your child) on the right path. 

If your school doesn’t offer end-of-the-year conferences, reach out to your child’s teacher and ask for a 15-minute meeting before or after a school day. Come up with a list of good questions, such as those below, so you can make the most out of your child’s summer learning opportunities.   

1. Which activities seem to catch my child’s interest?

You may or may not be surprised when the teacher says your child really came alive during the astronomy unit, or demonstrated an unusual level of insight in their writing. This is a good opportunity to talk about your child’s strengths and how you can best support them during the summer months.

2. Thinking ahead to the next grade, what should my child work on over the summer? Which approaches seem to work with my child when it comes to learning difficult material?

If your child is a struggling reader, you might be inclined to go the old-fashioned route: Just force her to sit on the couch for 30 minutes a day with a book, right? Or if your child is reluctant to embrace math, you may be tempted to run through flash card drills.

Those solutions aren’t necessarily bad, but you don’t want your summer sessions to turn into a power struggle. Discuss with the teacher whether a summer tutor or a class would be beneficial. Perhaps the teacher can suggest more engaging learning activities you could try at home that would accomplish the same goals.   

3. What are some resources or programs in the school district, library or community we should tap into this summer?

Even if you’re a lifelong resident of your community, there may be resources and opportunities at your fingertips you weren’t even aware of. The teacher might know of, say, a helpful summer math camp at the local science museum. Or the district or local library might offer shared access to online summer learning to help kids keep their skills sharp.

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In any case, many teachers can get behind the hands-on learning that happens at a Bricks 4 Kidz Summer Camp. Not only are children exposed to STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering and math), these camps are often centered around themes that are fun and engaging to children of all ages. Be sure and sign up early so they don’t miss this opportunity for an enriching summer learning experience! 

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