Post-summer “brain drain” or summer learning loss for students is real, according to Harris County Department of Education Center for Afterschool, Summer and Enrichment for Kids (CASE for Kids) Director Lisa Thompson-Caruthers. Most teachers spend at least three weeks re-teaching last year’s lessons at the beginning of each school year, she said. Research outlined by the National Summer Learning Association reveals that most students lose two months of math skills every summer, and low-income students lose another two-to-three months in reading. “Summer camps and activities for children are important for a number of reasons,” said Caruthers. “During the summer it’s important to keep kids engaged, maintain regular sleep routines, provide social interaction with other kids and practice following rules.” Regardless, gaining a healthy transition back to school can be achieved, Caruthers said. Here are some tips for getting kids back into their academic routines: 1. Jumpstart a healthy family routine. Get back to normal sleeping schedules. 2. Identify a child’s interests in books. While school ramps up the academics, it’s important for kids to access books based on their interest areas. Visit the library to check out books that compliment school-day learning. 3. Prime the mental pump. Museums are abundant in the greater Houston area, and many have free or discounted hours or days. Mix in educational apps to the games your kids play. along with their favorites. Have them watch educational YouTube videos and report back what they learn. 4. Get homework help and enroll in afterschool. When homework is completed inside an afterschool program, family stress is reduced, leaving more quality time at home for family time. Afterschool provides a variety of activities that reinforce school-day learning, encourage social interaction and help youth develop skills. 5. Add incentives to your child’s learning with quality family time. After homework is over, play a family game. After six weeks of school, let your child plan a weekend excursion. Make a wish list of places your child wanted to visit this summer, but time ran out. CASE for Kids provides resources, trainings and funding for afterschool programs, serving students in grades pre-k through 12 in afterschool programs in schools, childcare facilities and community centers throughout Harris County. For more information go to http://www.hcde-texas.org/after-school . For research about summer learning loss, go to http://www.summerlearning.org/at-a-glance. Source: HCDE