Avoiding the Summer Brain Drain

Avoiding the Summer Brain Drain

Avoiding the Summer Brain Drain


The children are doubtless enjoying the summer break; however, studies show that a typical student forgets up to a third of what they have learned over the school year during the summer holiday! For parents, there is an obvious motivation to extend learning outside of the classroom and stop the ‘brain drain’.  But what can be done to maintain mental fitness, so a student is best placed to return to school in September ready to learn?


Discuss education goals


Getting some focus on longer-term goals for the coming academic year can be a fantastic way to boost motivation. It is equally important to create shorter term ‘stepping stone’ targets to break down bigger targets into more manageable steps in the right direction. An effective goal should be challenging enough to provide motivation, but achievable enough to be realistic. The opportunity for growth in education lies between the student’s comfort zone and their ultimate aspirations. Shoot for the stars, and the moon is still a very good result!


When setting goals with the student, be sure to focus on the development of skills rather than just achieving outcomes. Appreciate that the journey is at least as important as the destination. Help the student to identify areas in which they would like to improve and develop a plan to achieve the stated outcomes.


Engaging Summer Activities

Education is not confined to the classroom, and the summer break is a great opportunity to encourage extra-curricular activities, as well as sneaking in some education hidden cunningly within some fun activities everyone can enjoy:


Day Trips

A stereotypical view of a museum might see it painted as a tedious place, but museums have themselves been all too aware of this and have taken steps to be more engaging for modern audiences as well as ensuring they provide entertainment for visitors of all ages. Visits to zoos and aquariums are great fun as well as being packed with science-learning opportunities. Similarly, local castles or stately homes can be history brought to life. A quick search on the Internet will return local options and visitor reviews. Why not book a few day trips and enjoy some hands-on learning opportunities!


Rediscover reading

Many local libraries offer summer reading challenges to inspire students to lose themselves in books. Taking part in one is a good opportunity to encourage reading outside of school, as well as providing a welcome break from the computer screen over the holidays.

Thoughtful screen-time

If your house is like my house, you’re not going to be very popular if you try to ban video games and ‘tablet time’. Probably a much better idea to influence it positively by finding some games and activities with some educational merit. Game developers are surprisingly crafty at working some useful learning opportunities into their products, so take advantage and make the most of enthusiasm for ‘games’.


Going away? Make it count


Going on holiday can be an amazing educational experience. Encourage research on holiday destinations and potential places to visit once there – extra reading and world-wisdom abound! Older children could help plan activities, understand travel arrangements and budget their spending money.


Creative play


Imaginative play is very important, but it’s something which the demands of school life beyond early years often makes difficult to accommodate in the school day. This makes the summer holidays an ideal time for delving into imagination. A box of old clothes for dress-up could be a good start, ass well as holding on to old boxes and food cartons for arts and crafts projects.


Enjoy the great outdoors

Physical activity helps children develop coordination, concentration, teamwork and problem-solving; all of which translates wonderfully to a classroom setting. If you have a garden, or even a few pots on a windowsill, encouraging your child to get green-fingers with a packet of seeds for a little science lesson. And maybe some healthy snacks in a few weeks!


Employ your little helpers


Summer holidays are to be enjoyed, but that doesn’t mean that the children can’t help out a bit around the house. Engage everyone in creating a rota of jobs that need doing and figure out between you who is doing what. Encourage some independence and develop life-skills. If you’re feeling generous you could even pay them, providing opportunities for budgeting and imagination – how will they spend their wages?


Best of all every option listed above, with the exception of a trip away, is possible at a low cost, or even no cost at all!


Build Mental Strength


Many people believe that their level of intelligence and ability are fixed, and whilst that may be true there is no way to be certain that a student has arrived at their personal limit. We believe at Tutorially™ that every day is a school day, and opportunities to learn and develop are all around us.


Experience suggests that students who believe that they can get better are more likely persist during difficult challenges, seek out better feedback, enjoy learning more and have higher levels of self-esteem. The summer holidays are an ideal time to help your child develop their mindset.


It is important to foster a growth mindset, helping students to realise that hard work, good quality feedback and an openness to hear it, and the sustained pursuit of improvement build the fastest route to success. We learn from failure, and frankly, if you don’t fail now and again you’re probably not trying hard enough. A resilience to setbacks is an extremely important skill for everyone to master, no harm in starting as soon as possible!


Rest and Relaxation


The summer holidays are a chance for everyone to recharge their batteries after the challenges of the school year, and whilst maintaining some of the momentum built over the break is great, balance is as important here as it is in all other aspects of life. All work and no play…


Sleep is important, and with it taking weeks to make or break a habit, the school holidays are a great time to reset. The importance of sleep shouldn’t be underestimated, with a good night’s sleep being linked to better memory, concentration, alertness, immune system and decision making. It is recommended teenagers get an average of nine hours sleep a night. During the summer holidays, sleep patterns tend to change, with children taking advantage of the holidays by staying up late and lying in longer in the mornings. I is important not to entirely lose sight of good sleeping patterns.


Common sleep mistakes for children including watching TV right up until bed, being on their mobile phone when in bed and consuming caffeinated/energy drinks just before bed. None of these is conducive to successful sleep


And with the basics covered, make sure you both take time and make time to enjoy the holidays. Children have worked very hard over the school year and rightly deserve some time off to enjoy themselves. The summer holidays are a great time to refresh and recharge. With careful bit planning and subtle nudging from those around them, it can also be a great time to help develop key habits that will stand everyone in good stead for the coming year.


Enjoy the Break!


From everyone here at Tutorially™, thanks for all the fantastic work you’ve done over the academic year. If you choose to fill your summer with profitable tuition work, we’ve got the tools to help you succeed. If you’re planning to enjoy your break and make ready for the coming year, frankly we don’t blame you for that at all either! Enjoy your well-earned break.


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