June 02, 2012, 7:35 AM — It goes by many names, but the syndrome is the same. Whether it’s dubbed “summer learning loss,” “summer vacation slide,” or good-old-fashioned “summer brain drain,” studies show that students usually have to relearn four to six weeks of classwork at the beginning of every school year. On the brink of the lazy days of summer, what’s a parent to do? Here are nine ways to use your Mac and iOS devices to keep your kids sharp during the summer. Add your own advice to the comments at the end of this article.
Listen to our podcast on avoiding summer brain drain
1. Learn at your own pace
If you check out only one resource for your elementary- or high-school-aged kid this summer, make sure it’s online learning sensation Khan Academy, also available as an iPad app. This non-profit educational resource backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, originally started as a collection of tutorial videos Salman Khan made to help his cousin with her math homework. After he became a YouTube sensation, Khan quit his job as a hedge fund analyst and turned Khan Academy into a immense free resource with more than 3100 instructional videos covering K-12 math, science, and humanities topics.
Videos run no more than 10 minutes long. Math topics and are supported with interactive challenges and assessments. Kids can earn badges and points in a variety of ways. Parents can also check in using a “coach” account to see extremely detailed reports about how the child is faring. This is the best resource yet for self-paced learning.
2. Build Legos with the astronauts
Lego fans always have loads to do during the summer. While away the afternoon with new Lego Mindstorms projects or a Lego ideas book like The Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner’s Guide to Building and Programming Robots.