At Spark Math by Spark Education, we know how much effort and time goes into ensuring the new school year starts smoothly. Making sure to get everything on the supplies list, signing up for sports, and shopping for lunches the kids don’t hate, life can get busy. No matter how chaotic life can get, It’s crucial to remember that the most important part of school is the learning. From fighting the summer slide to making sure the kids aren’t falling behind, here are 5 math hacks for starting the new school year right!
1. Fight summer slide with a quick review
Summer slide, or summer learning loss, is when a child forgets skills they learned throughout the year during summer break. Kids might lose skills gained in the previous grade level if they don’t practice them over the summer. When the next school year comes around, they can spend more time reviewing than learning new concepts. Research shows that not having access to summer education programs can leave students months behind on skills.
While students can lose both reading and math skills during summer, they are more likely to lose their math skills.. Make sure to take time and review what major math skills students should review to prepare for the new school year. Spark Math has a series of blogs to help students get a math refresher before entering a new grade level.
Check out our blog series “Math Kids Should Know Before Starting a New Grade”:
2. Make a schedule and stick to it
Summer is the perfect time to relax, for kids to try new things, and maybe even sleep in. Heading into the new school year, having a schedule helps kids get back into the groove of school and learning. Start by going to bed and waking up earlier in the day to match up with when kids need to be up for school. Having enough rest is important for getting through a long day at school and after-school activities.
Schedules aren’t just good for rest, they also help set kids up for a balanced life. They can help kids plan when to study each subject. They can also help kids practice studying at a consistent time and place. Schedules are a great tool for helping kids get used to making time specifically for education.. Kids with designated times for school, homework, and activities can more easily get into a good headspace for learning. It might sound strange but schedules also help kids build independence. Schedules push kids to choose where they allocate their free time and develop their own interests.
3. Get a handle on the curriculum
A new school year means a new curriculum of skills kids have to master. 45 states in the U.S. follow the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The CCSS are national standards of the skills students should know for every grade from kindergarten to the end of high school. While the CCSS isn’t a curriculum, it helps guide local curriculums to make sure students are learning the skills expected of them in reading and math based on grade level.
For math learners, many skills and concepts build upon themselves. Having a weak understanding of one concept can have ramifications for the rest of the year, and even in the future grades. Making sure students know they can reach out for help if they feel lost or confused is important. Parents can help by looking for problem areas early in the year so students can get the help they need as soon as possible.
In math education, losing the grip on the curriculum can work both ways. If a student isn’t being challenged by concepts in school they can become bored and lose interest in the subject completely. For kids with exceptional talent at math, finding advanced courses, math competitions, or online programs for exceptional students can help math go from a chore to a passion.
Looking for some of the biggest math concepts by grade? Check out our blog series “The Top 3 Math Concepts Grade School Kid’s Should Know”:
4. Have fun!
Just because it happens in school doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be fun. The new school year means an exciting learning journey kids should look forward to. Students will find new skills, activities, and subjects that will stick with them for life. If a kid starts getting passionate about a subject or skill, try and find new ways for them to use those abilities in exciting ways. From math competitions, like the AMC 8 or Math Kangaroo, to creative writing and live streaming, there are exciting ways to have fun with what you learn in school.
There are tools and activities that make each class fun too. From online educational videos to games and gamified lessons, having fun while learning new concepts helps kids embrace and grasp new skills more easily. Starting in Pre-K, kids begin learning concepts with songs and games. Even as an adult, it’s hard to do something simple, like say the alphabet, without breaking into the song you learned as a child. Finding ways to use the things kids love to help them better connect to their education can make even the most complex subjects fun.
Check out these great blogs about how education and fun work together:
- Math in Sports: Football and Fantasy Football Math for Kids
- Math in Sports: Soccer and Mathematics
- Math in Sports: Baseball and Mathematics
- Education & Innovation: 4 Exciting Ways Animation Helps Kids Learn
- Education & Innovation: How Cartoon Characters Help Learning
5. Get support when needed
From not feeling challenged enough or feeling left behind without understanding new concepts, there are many ways students need support in education. Letting kids know it’s okay to reach out to parents or teachers when they don’t feel fulfilled is important. If left unchecked, students who are bored, annoyed, or anxious about school can see their grades fall and lose interest in learning altogether.
Thankfully there are support systems that help kids learn in ways they understand and can be passionate about. Local learning centers, tutoring, and online learning programs are all great ways to help students work to make education an enjoyable part of life. Finding the right support for a student can be the difference between being lost and finding a new passion that takes them through school and life. Creating new challenges or spending a little extra time with kids who need them can help make students go from frustrated to All-Star.
Spark Education and starting the new school year.
This new school year, if you’re looking for support with math, Spark Education is the place for you. Spark Math by Spark Education is a flagship program focused on making students math aces. Spark Math is an education program perfect for helping kids use the skills they learned all year in fun and engaging ways. Available for students from Pre-K to 6th grade, Our’s online program features online classes, gamified lessons, and a real experienced teacher. Try it for yourself by signing up to try a free demo class today!
Do you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and need a better way for your child to learn? Spark Education’s new learning centers bring the excitement and ingenuity of our online program to local students. Spark Education learning centers create the best environment for kids to learn with live teachers, gamified lessons, and fun ways for kids to learn together. Check out our new Spark Education learn centers here.