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Oregon Family Magazine

Helping a Child Behind in Math This Summer

04/30/2021 ● By Morgan Jemmali
It goes without saying that the pandemic has affected all our lives. If you’re a parent of a school age student, you understand learning disruptions due to the pandemic and how this may have affected your child’s educational development. But did you know the subject hit hardest is math? Studies by academic experts from NWEA Research and Renaissance Learning show the average child in some grade levels are now up to 12 months behind expectations in math due to school closures. In the Fall of 2020, students performed, on average, 10% lower in math compared to Fall 2019, and once kids fall behind, it’s often difficult to catch up on their own.  It can take months, or even years, to make up missed learning and get back on track. Also, when summer break arrives, math skills can slip even further; so, on top of the Covid Slide, there is the Summer Slide, where some kids lose up to 3 months of math skills, resulting in lower self-confidence and a lower chance of success in the Fall.

Summertime is a great opportunity for kids to catch up (and possibly even move ahead) in math, when enrolled in a math program or tutoring, without the burden or distraction of other homework. With this year being particularly unique and impactful on some students, a summer math program might be the edge they need, while still allowing for fun activities and socialization. Summer learning programs are also a great opportunity for kids who are working at about grade level to preview the following school year's key concepts, giving them a jump start into the new school year.

If children stay engaged during the summer months, it will help them avoid the Summer Slide and the loss that kids often face over the summer months.  It’s essential that tutoring is done in a fun, low-pressure environment. As Larry Martinek, founder of Mathnasium, said “Children don’t hate math. They do hate being confused and intimidated by math. With understanding comes passion, and with passion comes growth.”

Morgan Jemmali (or Coach Mo, or “Mo the Math Pro” on STAR 102.3’s weekly show, “Become a Math Ninja”) has 2 kids in 4J French Immersion programs, and he coaches tennis at YMCA and soccer at Eugene Timbers. He has taught math, accounting, marketing, Excel, French, and Arabic for over 20 years, and is currently the Director of Mathnasium of Eugene. Mo can be reached at [email protected].