MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO)  — Those lazy, hazy days of summer could set your child way behind in school next year.

Education experts warn research is overwhelming that children can lose an enormous amount of knowledge over the summer. For some kids, taking the summer off to play could put them behind in the classroom next fall.

Kids like 11-year-old Frankie Orndorf look at it this way.

“I kind of think we kind of get enough schoolwork during the year,” he said.

Frankie’s mom, Ellen Orndorf said she can’t afford to have her children fall back behind over the summer.

“My kids both read and do math programs over the summer. We just can’t have them lose those skills,” she said.

Educational experts said Ellen is right, that unless kids do math and reading over the summer they will forget what they learned.

“They can lose three months and we know it can take three months to get them back where they were in May,” said Joan Arbisi Little, the associate director of the Center for School Change.

Little said math skills are the first to slip away and among the most difficult to get back.

“Math is harder. I like to tell kids it’s like a sport, if you don’t practice it, you fall behind,” Little said.

So what’s a parent to do? You can buy those work books you find at stores this time of year and make your kid practice.

Only nine percent of kids across the country are in structured academic programs in the summer. Many other families try to do what Frankie’s mom does, work on problems at home.

“It’s worth it to take technology away and have them do an hour, half an hour math, half an hour of reading and then they can go to the computer and play,” said Little.

Frankie Orndorf said he’s not a big fan of that idea, but understands why it’s a good thing.

“I would rather be outside with my friends, but it helps a lot,” he said.

Esme Murphy

Comments (9)
  1. just an Average Joe says:

    They are right. I’m 54 years old and I know I would have a much higher I.Q. now if only I had gone to school every summer from 1st to 12th grade while I was growing up. (Note heavy sarcasm.)

    Oh come on, who are they kidding here. Kids are kids. And they will learn at their own speed regardless of the length of the school season.

    1. unbelievable says:

      Thank you Average Joe
      You said exactly what I was thinking and I am 51. Just more ploys by education.

  2. J.P. says:

    Yes, they shouldn’t play sports, or take part in any dangerous recess activities and they should stay in school all year long. That way we can keep them at 1 in 3 beaing proficient in reading because of the wonderful things they are learning! lol, let em have the summer!

  3. J.P. says:

    lol, oops, being. I should have stayed in school all those summers 🙁

  4. Mr. Muckle says:

    Summer vacation taught me how to play hard for the simple exuberant joy of being young, fit, and indomitable:
    “Bet ya can’t swim across the pool underwater.”
    “Bet I can.”

    It taught me to form bonds with the neighborhood kids that last to this day. It taught me to compete with and against them and learn the rush of winning and the disappointment of losing. And not to get too wrapped up in either because another game was starting as soon as we all had a glass of Kool Aid. It taught me to run and jump, hide and seek, and swim and fish. Skills that have served me better throughout my life than knowing the square root of 64 (which amazingly, I still remember even though I had no expert brow beating me into doing the multiplication tables on the Fourth of July).

    Maybe the kids get a couple of months behind. The story says they catch up in a couple of months, so the experts are crying over non-spilled milk. Given the choice between knowing a kid who was bullied into giving up part of his summer to satisfy experts’ anal anxieties, and a kid who was allowed 90 days a year to do nothing but be a kid, I’ll take the latter, every time.

  5. Michelle says:

    Lets see. Three months to catch up from the summer off every year times 12 years = 4 years of school where nothing new is being learned. Gee, I wonder why the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world in education?

  6. Victim Du Jour says:

    I think most of us remember summer off from public school as the most care-free and fun experiences in our whole life.

    Sounds like liberal union people trying to keep their job security, like kids are suppose to be brainwashed robots 365 days a year.

    US Schools are behind because they are not focused on Math, Science and Biology.

  7. Ryan K says:

    What a horrible ideal. Just the Liberal Unions trying to get more money for themselves by saying there is more school so thus need more money. I for one would pull my kid out of school for the summers. Breaks are important its to bad as adults we do not understand. Kids learn at there own rates. I know a lot more people who have been more successful with school once they were out of grade school and went to collage.

  8. Wow says:

    The politics in this country will never allow for a full school year. It costs money and schools are the first to get hit with cuts. The US has it’s priorities so backwards.