Beverly Hills students are weeks into their summer vacation and chances are they're happily giving their brains a rest. But over the long term, that isn’t the best strategy for children.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, studies have shown that students from all economic backgrounds lose some math abilities during the 10-week to12-week summer break.
“Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math computation skills over the summer months,” the group says, quoting a 1996 study.
The loss of math skills is more severe compared with the loss of other scholastic topics, the association notes.
“Computational skills are the first to go,” math teacher Jeff Harris told Patch, referring to basic adding, subtraction, multiplication and division. “I usually have to spend the first few weeks of school reviewing from last year.”
“Math is like sports in that if you don’t use it, you lose the skills,” said fellow math teacher Jesse Meyen. Both Harris and Meyen have taught math at Hawthorne since 2007.
In order to address this problem, Harris and colleague Jesse Meyen began a summer math in 2010 for students entering grades 3-10. The curriculum is based on the coming year’s key state standards.
The camp, called "Beverly Hills Math Factor," is held at on Burton Way. Elementary and middle school campers attend Mondays through Thursdays for two weeks, while high school students attend those same four days for three weeks. Sessions begin Monday, July 9.
While the concept of math camp sounds boring, the teachers work hard to make it fun.
“Kids don’t even realize they are learning,” Harris said.
The teachers emphasize their youth and enthusiasm for math as they work to make the subject enjoyable. They use iPads, tablets, songs and videos to engage students.
“Our program is designed to help students get ahead for the following year and to challenge them to dig deeper,” Harris said. “We can do that with competitions and other fun challenges.”
Unlike school, no grades are given and there is very little homework. The class sizes average just 4-6 students, ensuring plenty of individual attention. Materials for each class are posted daily, in case campers need to miss a day.
Beverly Hills Math Factor is a great option for parents trying to keep their children’s brains active this summer. For more information, go to the camp’s website, or contact Harris via email. There are still plenty of slots available.