Statistics show that over the summer break, most students lose an average of two to three months of math computational skills they learned during the previous school year. This loss of learning can mean an academic setback for some children that can take weeks, and in some cases months, to remedy when the school bells ring in the fall.
“U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has characterized the effects of “summer learning loss” as “devastating” and “well-documented.” And according to a 2009 report by McKinsey and Company, this backsliding represents a cost of as much as $670 billion to the nation’s economy.”
For educators in Florida and Texas, the concerns over losing ground academically over the summer were critical. They decided to try a particular, specialized math video game.
“As they compete, students build upon basic skills like multiplication, division, and fractions, which in later years will lead to mastery of everything from proportions, number lines, and adding and subtracting integers; to order of operations, evaluating expressions, employing function tables, and solving complex equations.”
The video game that the educators in Texas and Florida were using is good but expensive. There are many online sites that host free math games, most of which are challenging, exciting, fun, and age-appropriate. That’s all well and good.
But above all else, children crave time spent with their parents. Because learning is a social process, children learn best through fun games and activities that involve interaction with other people.
There are plenty of fun math games that you and your children can play to help them retain their math skills.
Seize this opportunity to teach them your values, and indulge them with your own undivided attention. A price cannot be put on the quality of the time you will have spent with your children. They will have fun while learning, and they will remember those times with greater fondness than the times they spent playing the educational computer game.
And lastly but of great importance, among the obvious benefits of sitting down and playing a good game with your children is the opportunity that games provide to apply and solidify the mathematical reasoning and calculating skills your children are learning in school. When children play on-line or video games, parents may know how the child scores, but do they know where they made mistakes and why? Playing games with your child offers you, as a parent, a greater opportunity to know what your child’s strengths and weaknesses in mathematics are.
Get a jump start on the coming school year! Sit down and play some math games with your children.