Starting in May of each school year, the horizon of summer vacation starts to linger in the minds of students in every grade from kindergarten to 12th grade. With end-of-school year activities popping up, warmer weather arriving, and a host of plans for summer trips being settled, it’s no wonder that as kids get closer to summer break they start to lose focus on school lessons. The freedom of summer lingers in the air, and when summer vacation finally begins, kids are all too happy to leave the lessons and tests behind for a couple of months.
The Summer Slide
Unfortunately, during the summer, a lack of educational experiences results in what has been dubbed the “summer slide”: a significant loss of learning that is one of the main causes of underachievement in our schools. Research has found that on average, students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer! This common decline in students’ academic skills over summer break results in students starting the school year with below-level skills and having to play “catch-up” with lessons.
Preventing the Summer Slide with Free Online Summer Courses
The good news is that the summer slide can be prevented, and one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to have children engage in lessons in various subjects over the summer. The CK-12 Foundation offers one such online program that is free for students to use on a computer, tablet, and even on their phones. The program, BrainFlex, is available in a format that is easy to use anytime, anywhere. Experts agree that it doesn’t require several hours of lessons each day over the summer to avoid the summer slide; with only a few lessons each day, consistency in learning is maintained, giving children a powerful advantage once school begins again in the fall.
The Benefits of the BrainFlex Program
BrainFlex offers lessons spanning math and science, featuring several age-appropriate courses in biology, arithmetic, chemistry, geometry, elementary math, Earth science, calculus, and many others. CK-12 recommends that children practice for a short period of time each day to reap the full benefits of the program. The BrainFlex program allows students to do three important things over the summer:
1. Choose from a variety of math and science topics, chosen by the student or by a teacher or parent
2. Receive reminders to answer questions on lessons each day
3. Access a personalized dashboard that shows the child’s growth and progress over time.
Getting Started with BrainFlex
Children who are active over summer breaks with online programs like BrainFlex not only prevent the summer slide, but also achieve a head start on the materials that will be presented during the upcoming school year. Those who are interested in learning more about or signing up for the BrainFlex free summer courses online can visit ck12.org/summer and click “I accept the challenge.” The list of topics available for students will be listed, and an adult (whether it’s the child’s parent, guardian or teacher) can sign up as the child’s “coach” and receive updates on the child’s progress. Coaches will also receive notifications if a child misses a day of practice. For more information on BrainFlex and on CK-12 Foundation, visit ck12.org