When talking about school going kids, it is a general belief that Math and holidays don’t go together. When schools have long vacations of up to 1-2 months, math is often left behind or just limited to some homework. Research shows that being out of touch with the subject during summer vacations causes a significant loss in the learning process. Students lose up to 2.6 months of learning! Post vacations, teachers have to make up for the loss either by taking more classes or simply ignoring and getting on with the syllabus. This can cause some students to be left behind and therefore it is important to have continued engagement with Math even during holidays especially long vacations.
Math is unique
Math is unique as the subject needs to have a strong foundation and any missed out concept can lead to low understanding or a total disinterest in the topic in the later years. Math is connected through each grade, with concepts getting more complicated over the years, unlike other subjects where the link is not as correlated. Math has always been a subject of utter love or dread among students in general. Children either love math or they don’t. Also, for students who are interested in the sciences, math becomes an all important subject to master. Therefore, creating a love for math at an early age can have many positive consequences for the child in what he/she does as a career later in life.
Math is fun
Math can give chills to many students. But the good news is that most of the dread is caused due to unsuitable teaching methodologies or not giving the right guidance to students who may need more help than the others. Therefore it can be easily corrected with the right school and mentors. Making sure that math is a part of daily life even during off school days will enable a young child to be in touch with the subject. It helps a child get a good grasp of all the concepts that have been taught in class as it is easy to forget when on vacation.
What can a parent do during vacations?
Research suggests that limited exposure to Math to just worksheet assignment for holidays is not as effective as thought to be! Children still lose precious months of learning when back to school after holidays. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of parents and caregivers to get into their children’s lives more math-related activities at home. In order to make it less formal, Math practice can be intertwined with everyday chores or simple fun exercises. Measurements while cooking in the kitchen, counting pebbles while on a beach holiday, reading short math stories at bedtime or simple math games can help engage children much better than making them complete worksheets.
A math slump can have not so good consequences, especially for children who do not naturally lean towards the subject. Take a look at the math teaching philosophy in some of the most progressive and innovative schools. Math is no longer taught the old school way learning through charts and books. Smart classes and stimulating environments create an atmosphere of fun while learning while focusing on every child and his/ her abilities. The Canadian International School, for example, has an Outdoor Learning Centre (ODC) specially designed for preschoolers and primary schools students that encourages children to explore nature while teaching many concepts including that of Math. STEAM teaching philosophies encourage learning academic subjects along with Art which includes Math. Math at the primary level is compulsory and needed, teachers at school and parents at home can create an environment that lets students explore and get comfortable with it. Some may fall in love while some won’t but none would be scared of math which sadly is not uncommon across school kids. Therefore ensuring that students stay in touch with Math during vacations can play an important role in their overall journey with math early and at later stages of life.
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