For many schoolchildren, the price paid for “fun in the sun” over the summer school break is significant learning loss. In order to counteract this, parents need to provide opportunities for their children to continue to read and do math during the summer months. One way to prevent summer learning loss is to enroll in a supplemental education program (like KUMON!) and make math and reading practice a part of the daily summer routine.

While students need to have fun during the summer, using their academic skills for even a short period of time each day will prevent them from the summer learning loss that plagues so many of their classmates. Here are some suggestions to help create a learning environment that is part of your child’s summer routine:

1. Read for pleasure during the summer – favorite authors, easy-to-read books, magazines, plays, poetry.

2. Read books for the upcoming school year (ask your child’s teacher for suggestions.)

3. Write plays and stories and share them with friends and family.

4. Visit the library weekly and make friends with the librarian, who has a wealth of information to share about books. (Most libraries also offer summer reading programs for children.)

5. Get activity books and do age-appropriate brain teasers, crossword puzzles, or Suduko.

6. Be creative with math. Write equations/problems on big surfaces using finger paints, dry erase markers, or washable chalk.

7. Be a role model for learning. Let your child “catch” you reading; note how you use math throughout the day—in cooking, balancing the checkbook, figuring out gas mileage—and encourage your children to calculate along with you.

8. Create projects: have your child help plan your vacation time, whether it be a day trip or a two-week holiday; research and read books about the destination; use resources, such as the library, the internet; figure out how much the trips would cost, including gas, entertainment, hotels, food, and directions.

      Success is a powerful motivator.  If students are able to experience quick success with math, they inevitably become motivated to achieve even better results in the subject. Kumon motivates students by making it possible for them to succeed.

      The Kumon Method enables students to experience success from their very first day of study.  Kumon’s comfortable starting point not only ensures achievement, but it also facilitates the development of a daily study routine.  The daily assignments provide a sense of assurance that progress is being made toward long-term goals.  Each repeated assignment in Kumon is an opportunity to try again and to improve.  This daily opportunity for achievement and praise cultivates a positive tenacity in students.  Parents have the opportunity to become involved and positively influence their children’s Kumon study.  Parental participation and commitment to Kumon fosters effective home education.  Through goal setting and projection making, Instructors enable students to experience a genuine sense of accomplishment.  All of these components of Kumon inspire a great deal of motivation in students.

      It does take time, though, for the Instructor and parents to motivate students.  Once they acquire the skills, confidence and study habits that Kumon strives to instill, however, they will truly become self-learners.  It is very satisfying for students who, having been held to a high standard, understand that their achievements are the product of their own honest efforts.  There is no substitute for the genuine motivation students can secure for themselves through their study in the Kumon Method.

Teachers are the backbone of the education system. Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7 to May 11 and it is the perfect time to let those exceptional teachers know just how much of a difference they make. Kumon asked a handful of educators some questions about how parents and students can show their appreciation. The answers were informative, simple and heartwarming.

Give Thanks by Staying Involved

Across the board, teachers feel most supported when parents are involved in their children’s education. Supporting the teaching style, checking homework, keeping children accountable and staying on top of report cards and class requirements were all cited as incredibly helpful. Asking questions was also encouraged, in addition to communicating with the teacher about your child’s needs and any special situations.

Schoolteachers share the same goals as parents — they want your child to succeed, and they recognize that parents and guardians play an enormous role in that success. By staying involved in the education process, you support educators and make them feel appreciated.

Give Thanks by Being Courteous and Prepared

Skip the apple. The number one way students can show gratitude to schoolteachers is simply to be kind, attentive and prepared. A warm smile and a hello go a long way in making a teacher’s day. It is even better when a student stays engaged in class, is kind to fellow students and straightens up his or her work area.

One teacher summed it up best: “Genuine common courtesy goes a long way with me.”

Give Thanks by Providing Supplies

When asked what schoolteachers need most for their classrooms, general school supplies were a top request. Pencils, paper, cleaning supplies, healthy snacks for elementary school and books for English classes were the most requested items. Every school is different, so be sure to ask your child’s teacher what he or she needs. For some, the perfect gift could be as simple as paper and pencils wrapped in a bow, or a basket filled with cleaning supplies or snacks for the class. Of course, attaching a genuine thank-you note can make it all the better.

Why Teachers Are Thankful

We wrapped up our questionnaire by asking teachers what makes them thankful. They love having a career that is both diverse and challenging, and certainly never gets boring. Teachers are thankful when parents and the school administration provide a supportive work environment for them, but at the heart of it all is their students.

Teachers feel grateful when students grow and learn. Whenever students take time to let a teacher know how their lives are going and how that teacher made an impact, the message of gratitude is made even more enduring. Whether expressed by a handwritten note, a smile or a simple thank-you, showing gratitude enriches everyone’s life. Take the time to give thanks, and you can not only improve someone’s day, but you can also make a lasting impression. Teachers are no different from the rest of us, and they feel great when you take an interest and communicate your appreciation. If you haven’t had the opportunity to give thanks to a special educator, start today!