School may be out for the summer, but your brain is always on duty. In fact, you may be at risk of “brain drain” if you don’t keep it active.
Brain drain is a term for when you return to school in the fall having forgotten everything. In fact, The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) says that most students lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.
Low-income students lose more than two months in reading achievement. And research spanning over 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. If you’re a low-income student, it’s even more essential to take advantage of the summer months.
In fact, on June 20, First Lady Michelle Obama — as part of her Reach Higher Initiative — is joining NSLA to tour student demonstrations and deliver remarks at the National Summer Learning Day Fair.
This event brings together high school students and education leaders from across the country to highlight how important summer learning is when it comes to preparing for college. Hundreds of cities and programs around the country are hosting local events to build awareness around the need for and benefits of high-quality summer learning programs. Is there one near you?
Keeping your brain active doesn’t necessarily mean focusing on academics. The key is to avoid a completely sedentary summer:
Read every day
Go to the library and participate in library/reading programs
Visit museums and cultural centers
Ask your teacher what you’ll be learning in the next grade, and ask for ideas on how you can build on those skills over the summer
Set aside one day a week to keep Math and Science skills fresh by doing practice problems
Get a part or full-time job
Volunteer or intern
Plan a family vacation (logistics, finances, the whole bit)
Keep a journal
Participate in a book club
Sign up for summer camp/programs
Get a head start on the college application process: visit colleges and start organizing what you need for the applications
Challenge yourself by working on a summer project
Explore careers, skills, and interests
Attend summer school to brush up on skills
Know The Facts – National Summer Learning Association. (n.d.). Know The Facts – National Summer Learning Association. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from NSLA
Pitcock, S. (n.d.). How to Keep Your Teens Learning This Summer. ED.gov. Retrieved June 20, 2014, from HomeRoom