The lazy days of summer can take on a whole new meaning for students who can actually suffer learning loss when their minds aren’t engaged in academic activities.

Research shows that children learn best when instruction is continuous.

The long summer break stops the rhythm of instruction which can result in forgetting material and may require extensive review when students return to school in September. But, summer doesn’t have to set your children back.

“You often see parents exploring enrichment programs during the summer, which include math, science and technology camps and there are even a lot of do-it-yourself projects that you can find online,” said Mike Yaple of the New Jersey School Boards Association. “Many districts do have summer reading requirements and these days, we’re even seeing some schools asking students to complete summer math assignments.”

“It doesn’t take a lot. Even if you just make your children read for 15 minutes a day, it helps,” said Yaple. “In September, a lot of effort is placed in the classroom on catching children up academically. These days, parents often want to give their children as much of an advantage as they can. So, you do see them really buying into the concept of summer reading and math. There’s definitely been a shift in expectations over the years and you see a lot of parents wanting to keep their children involved so they have an academic edge so to speak.”

“Many schools post ideas online on how to keep children involved over the summer so they don’t fall behind. It’s been tough for many schools over the past couple of years because budgets have been so tight. When cuts are necessary, usually summer enrichment programs are the first to go,” said Yaple.