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.

This April, in honor of Earth Day, celebrated on Sunday, April 22, we are focusing on the importance of nature across our social media properties. In addition, our first Facebook contest of 2012 will be the Kumon Poetry Challenge in celebration of Earth Day. 

The Kumon Poetry Challenge asks students 18 and under from all over North America to celebrate the holiday through poetry. To enter the contest, a student’s parent or guardian submits the student’s poem through Facebook. Six students will each receive $500 and an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City with two of their parents and/or guardians, including a visit to Kumon North America. Please visit the Kumon Facebook page starting at noon EST on April 17 to find out more and submit your child’s poem.

This month’s series of parenting articles on Facebook will also focus on poetry and the environment. Here are upcoming articles planned for April:

• Poetry 101: Tips and Ideas for Great Poems — A feature to help students as they craft submissions for the Kumon Poetry Contest, this article will also help parents explain poetry to younger children. It will cover each of the format options for the contest, explaining them and list additional resources. In addition, the article will discuss the role of poetry in the Kumon Reading Program.
• Kumon’s Guide to Celebrating Earth Day Every Day — Toru Kumon’s mission for Kumon was “to foster sound, capable people and thus contribute to the global community.” In that spirit, this feature will provide information about Earth Day, ideas for celebrating the holiday at home and examples families can use to treat the Earth better. From composting and gardening, to reducing, reusing and recycling, it is important for parents to set an example for their children as we all work to become better stewards of our planet.

Visit the Kumon Facebook page, where we share daily tips and inspiration, educational news stories, student success stories and books from the Recommended Reading List. Please join our Facebook community to benefit from our exciting, parent-focused content. 
This week we are highlighting The Father of Black History 
Carter G Woodson  

Since 1926 Americans have recognized black history annually. Carter G. Woodson established "Negro History Week" which later turned into later as "Black History Month." We owe the celebration of Black History Month, and more importantly, the study of black history, to Dr. Carter G. Woodson. Born to parents who were former slaves, he spent his childhood working in the Kentucky coal mines and enrolled in high school at age twenty. He graduated within two years and later went on to earn a Ph.D. from Harvard. The scholar was disturbed to find in his studies that history books largely ignored the black American population-and when blacks did figure into the picture, it was generally in ways that reflected the inferior social position they were assigned at the time.

In 1926, Woodson launched Negro History Week as an initiative to bring national attention to the contributions of black people throughout American history. Woodson chose the second week of February for Negro History Week because it marks the birthdays of two men who greatly influenced the black American population, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.

Today's Tuesday Tip explains the importance of Math and What Do Mathematicians Do?

A mathematician, like a painter or poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas.
--- G. K. Hardy (from A Mathematician's Apology, London 1941)

What Do Mathematicians Do?
Mathematicians are often asked by friends, family, colleagues in other fields, and strangers: "What do mathematicians do?" Mathematicians make it possible to send secure emails and buy things online. Mathematicians are essential to analyze data and design accurate models in fields as diverse as biology and finance. Because of the prevalence of the computer at work and at play, mathematicians will continue to touch everyone in modern society.

Many people are familiar with mathematicians in academia, but mathematicians also work in many other fields, including:
  • Astronomy and space exploration
  • Climate study
  • Medicine
  • National security
  • Robotics
  • Animated films
A career in Mathematics can be fun as well as rewarding. The American Mathematical Society explains which jobs require a college math degree, how to choose a university, and how to find financial aid. The American Mathematical Society also includes links to career information from other mathematical professional organizations.
In today's Tuesday Tip we have linked to a great article that provides some Tips to Help Children Develop Strong Reading Habits. Reading is an important skill that needs to be developed in children.  The more children read, the better they become at reading. It's as simple as that. The more enjoyable the things they read are, the more they'll stick with them and develop the reading skills that they'll need to reach their true potential. The more young children are read to, the greater their interest in mastering reading. Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing. It enhances the development of their spoken language skills, their ability to express themselves verbally.

Reading, by way of books, magazines or websites, exposes children to new vocabulary. Even when they don't understand every new word, they absorb something from the context that may deepen their understanding of it the next time the word is encountered. When parents read aloud to children, the children also hear correct pronunciation as they see the words on the page, even if they can't yet read the words on their own. The list below are five great reasons why reading is important!

  1. Reading help children develop vital language skills
  2. Reading can open up new worlds and enrich children's lives.
  3. Reading can enhance children's social skills.
  4. Reading can improve hand-eye coordination.
  5. Reading can provide children with plenty of good, clean fun!

There are so many ways in which reading continues to be both a vital skill for children to master, and an important source of knowledge and pleasure that can last a lifetime. Nurture it in your children. Make the most of all the resources that are available and waiting for you: printed books, online books, magazines and the internet. Encourage follow-up activities involving creative writing skills and the arts, as well, so that your children can reflect upon or expand on what they've absorbed and, at the same time, develop their own creativity. As you help your childrens appreciate the magic of reading, you'll find that there's a whole wonderful world full of children's literature out there that YOU can enjoy too.

As the holidays quickly approach, I wanted to start a list of great educational items that can enhance your child's learning experience. Below is a listing of a few of our favorites. Please feel free to comment and add your own.

1.LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Learning TabletFor children 4-9 years of age
2. Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 by Elenco Electronics Inc children 8-12 years of age
3. LeapFrog Scribble and WriteFor children 3-5 years of age
4. Melissa & Doug Wooden Hands Counting Peg PuzzleFor children 2-4 years of age
5. Playskool AlphieFor children 3-5 years of age 
We hear that other stores are out of them, but we currently h... on Twitpic