I was what you may call a Super Nerd. I loved school.
I went with gusto, and by the time I reached high school and could take summer and night school — by choice — I did.
And I really credit that year-round education with nurturing my love of learning and providing me with momentum from one school year to the next.
Because summer learning loss is real.
Studies show that, on average, students lose two months of reading skills over the summer. It’s even worse for math — 2.6 months. They also experience significant learning losses in procedural and factual knowledge during the school break.
That’s why it’s typical for teachers to spend up to six weeks of the new school year reviewing old material.
So what do we do?
My partners at Oxford Learning Bowmanville suggest two to three hours a week of learning-based activities during summer vacation to prevent brain drain, plus lots of physical activity. (Regular physical activity can lead to increased concentration and help improve math and other test scores.)
If you’re the kind of person who can commit to focused homeschool-type stuff in between all of the other demands that come with summer holidays, I bow down to you.
I am not that mom.
I just don’t have that kind of patience and my kids don’t learn well from me because of it.
So I’ve sent my kids to Oxford Learning every summer for the past three years. Miss Q actually started the summer before she went to JK when she was just three years old!
My love for the Oxford Learning program is strong. I believe in the cognitive learning structure that’s built in to every session, because I’ve seen what it can do. (You can read more about our introduction to its Beyond Tutoring program and our success with it, and our experience with the R.E.A.D. Elite program.)
This summer, my kids will be at Oxford Learning Bowmanville for three hours a week — spread over two sessions to keep it manageable for them. Oxford Learning is equipped to teach them the way the curriculum teaches but they also dig deeper and create an even broader understanding of math and reading concepts.
Oxford Learning Bowmanville: first impressions
Change can be hard, especially for The K Man.
After years at the Courtice location, I wondered how we’d all feel as we walked through the doors of the Bowmanville centre for the first time.
Teresa and Erin, who run this location, greeted us and the kids with so much warmth that we were all instantly at ease. They oozed kindness and were so super kid-friendly that both The K Man and Miss Q sauntered right in without glancing back at us.
My initial observation is that Oxford Learning Bowmanville is bigger and bursting with so much more natural light than we’re used to. I love the way the books and student files are organized, and there’s a fantastic space for younger learners.
While the kids went off with Teresa and Erin for their assessments, Big B and I went to the waiting room where huge, comfy chairs awaited us.
And, oh! Oh! The TV in the waiting room is equipped with Netflix!
But back to the kids.
After we left, we asked how they felt about the assessments and trying out a new Oxford Learning centre. Both agreed that they loved the vibe.
And when I returned (alone) to go through my kids’ assessment results, it warmed my heart that they noticed their individual quirks and strengths and came prepared with a strong plan for this summer.
Both kids are already super readers, and we read at home a lot, but I like comprehension skills to be reinforced and the more reading they do, the better. But while they’ll spend some time on reading and writing, they’ll be focused even more heavily on math. Their results both showed some specific skill gaps in that area, and Teresa and Erin took the time to explain how their results showed the best way to use their strengths to their advantage as their summer sessions begin.
I can already tell they’re going to be way more patient than me working on “new” math. I just don’t understand why math is being taught the way it is now, and anytime I’ve tried to help, my kiddos look at me funny when I say something like “just carry the ‘1’.”
Summer programs at Oxford Learning
As I mentioned, mine are going twice a week for 1.5-hour sessions as part of the Beyond Tutoring program — but one-hour sessions are available, too, and have worked very well for us in the past when we only wanted to focus on one subject.
Miss Q absolutely loved her half-day Little Readers classes the last two summers (ideal for three to six year olds); in addition to her individualized learning program, it included things like circle time and snacks.
Oxford Learning Bowmanville also offers a Brain Camp (grades 1 to 6) that runs during select weeks throughout the summer.
And whether your child needs to catch up, keep up or you simply want to keep that momentum and help them get ahead, Oxford Learning is a great way to do it.
What does it cost?
Great question, but you have to contact your local Oxford Learning centre to discuss your child’s needs. Every centre offers different deals and discounts based on individual programming, the length of your sessions, and other factors.
I won’t lie — it’s not the cheapest activity my kids do, though it has nothing on hockey or dance. But here’s the litmus test for me when I’m making recommendations to my readers: would I spend my own money on this?
YES. Oxford Learning is so worth it to us that even when we haven’t partnered with them, we’ve paid out of our own pocket to send our kids.
Perhaps the best part of all is that it’s never a fight to get my kids to go. They don’t merely tolerate it; they like going. I dare say Miss Q LOVES going.
And associating positive feelings with learning is priceless.