Turn your child into a maths magician?

The Christmas Crumble Is Upon Us!
The school year has ended and the excitement for the appearance of a jolly man in a red suit is rising! But all parents should be on the alert for the syndrome called 'The Summer Brain Drain' or as I like to call it 'The Christmas Crumble'.
As we head into the Christmas holidays, our children get sucked into a 'Christmas Crumble' phenomenon. As parents we relax all previous rules and expectations because, after all, it is the holidays right? Our kids deserve a rest, right?

While this is absolutely true, there are some subjects in which we need to be more diligent. According to a study conducted by Dr. Harris Cooper of the University of Missouri-Columbia, your child can lose the equivalent of one to three months’ worth of learning!

This regression or loss of skills that happens to your child over the summer holidays, is called the "summer slump", teachers call it the "summer learning loss", but most often it's called the Summer Brain Drain or the Christmas Crumble!

This "brain drain" or "Christmas Crumble" is a loss of learning that most often happens with maths skills; after all if you don't use it, you lose it. And if you are not practicing your math skills for six weeks or more, your child will most certainly lose it.

Dr Harris Cooper found that the biggest loss of math skills was in computation, that's your child's ability to interpret and calculate math problems. In addition to math skills, the second most common area of loss is in spelling.

This does not happen to every child, as some children are a part of Summer programs (important to note that most of our Summer programs do not have maths elements), or have their learning continued at home, so the Christmas Crumble is not so noticeable when they return to school. But for most of us, our children do a huge backwards slide in their math skills which create issues for them as soon as school starts again.

What kind of Issues? As a teacher, I always dreaded the start of year testing, it always saddened me to note the confusion and disappointment on children's faces when they realised that they had gone backwards in their math skills. It was very discouraging for them to have to 're-learn' the skills they had worked so hard to gain in the first place.

It also meant that valuable time, of at least 2 months, was spent on re-teaching skills that had been 'lost' to the brain drain.

Your child doesn't have to fall victim to Christmas Crumble. You can keep your child’s brain engaged during the Summer and provide fun, enriching experiences without even trying too hard. Here are a few easy ways to do that:

  • Sign up to StayOnTrack at www.stayontrack.co.nz: We provide fun 10-15 minutes worksheets that specifically target basic facts skills needed for maths that suit both your child's age and level! These are sent directly to your inbox, so no hassle or fuss!

    Be confident in knowing your child is staying on track for maths, research shows ten minutes a day is better than one hour a week: we make it easy for you as a parent!

    Our feedback and results are awesome and we are running a fantastic Summer Saver Deal right now!

  • Educational Outings: these could be to your local museum or zoo, or they could be incorporated into anywhere you happen to be going. You just have to plan ahead to figure out how to sneak some learning in with the snacks and attractions.


  • Encourage your Children to Read: most local libraries run a Summer Reading program that are a lot of fun and introduce different experiences to stretch your child's mind. Don't forget to ask about maths stories, you will be amazed at the different books that incorporate fun maths learning into their stories, and suit all kinds of ages. If your child is not a huge reader, then ask about graphic chapter books or novels! All reading is good!

  • Look around you :there are many opportunities to introduce math, computation is an everyday skill! Can you get me 7 cans of spaghetti? If one can costs $1.45 but I can get this deal of 3 for $3.00 then what is the better deal? By how much? Subscribe to StayOnTrack’s emails at www.stayontrack.co.nz and get fun ideas and suggestions sent to you every Wednesday!

    The Christmas Crumble or Summer Brain Drain is not something we should scoff at or ignore, this affects not only the hard worked for skills of our children but also their confidence and how they view themselves.
  • StayOnTrack Limited 2014