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We've been waiting for it all year, and finally it's here: summer vacation is a wonderful time to relax, get a break from the daily grind, and visit beautiful and interesting places near and far. It's healthy for us, physically and emotionally, to take time out and replenish our energies!
However, you may want to think twice before taking the entire summer off. Unfortunately, the flip side of long vacations is learning loss, which is a serious problem among school children nationwide. A quick search on the internet pulls up the following definition of the term: "Summer learning loss is the loss in academic skills and knowledge over the course of summer vacation. The loss in learning varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income. A common finding across numerous studies is that on average, students score lower on standardized tests at the end of the summer than they do at the beginning of summer (on the same test). Summer loss for all students is estimated to be equal to about 1 month (Cooper 1996), but this varies across subject matter:
Mathematics - 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency loss
Reading- Varies across SES. Low income students generally lose about 2 months of reading achievement. Middle income students experience slight gains in reading performances" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_learning_loss)
Furthermore, according to the same article: "Two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in reading and language found among high school students has been explained through the learning loss that occurs during the summer months of the primary school years."
This is rather alarming. But parents aware of this problem are in a position to minimize or avoid the problem altogether by making sure that educational activities will not completely disappear from their children's summer schedules.
Summer learning loss is also a big problem for many music lesson students. At Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, we have seen in past years how students taking the entire summer off had a hard time in their September lessons, due to serious summer learning loss. Some of the young beginners come back in fall, not remembering where the notes are on the keyboard or fingerboard. In some cases, teachers spend up to a month to help students restore the knowledge and skills they had acquired by the end of the past spring semester. On occasion, the experience has been so frustrating to the student that he or she decided to drop out of the program--the ultimate sacrifice of summer learning loss. Financially, too, summer learning loss is a burden because in order to recover lost knowledge and skills, students are paying for essentially the same education twice.
What to Do About It?
At Hunterdon Academy of the Arts, we offer ongoing summer lessons to help students avoid learning loss, and indeed progress even further over the summer months. At the same time, we recognize the need to take summer breaks. To reconcile the two, we prorate tuition for up to two summer lessons, so that you can enjoy your well-deserved, relaxing break. To schedule a complimentary Trial Lesson, call (908) 782-4943