Do512 Family Featured Babymaker, Trish Morrison from MomCom, has found an interesting way to keep your kids learning this summer. Created by local parents, Brain Chase is an exciting summer curriculum where kids read, write, do math problems and complete tasks in other subjects, all to help them get further in a virtual (and real) treasure hunt. It’s a very cool concept and we’re excited to hear about it!

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Looking for something to keep your kids entertained and educated this summer? There are camps of all kinds but what about when they aren’t at camp? What about those long summer days when you don’t want them in front of a TV, but you also don’t think you can handle one more “entertaining” craft project or “intriguing” game of hide and seek? Enter: Brain Chase, an Austin based education startup formed by parents who wanted a fun way to prevent their kids from experiencing summer learning loss.

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Allan and Heather Staker, the parents of five elementary and pre-K children, dreamed up Brain Chase in response to their concern about how to help their own children get ahead academically during the summer. Allan is an entrepreneur with experience in technology, filmmaking, and marketing. Heather is the senior research fellow for education at the Clayton Christensen Institute and national expert in K-12 online learning. They are both Harvard Business School graduates.

“We had our own kids in mind when we designed Brain Chase,” Allan said. “We were very deliberate about selecting the best curriculum, but we spent an equal amount of energy designing something that would be fun, something that kids can’t refuse. Summer break is supposed to be an adventure, so we designed the Summer Learning Challenge with that at its core.”

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Virtual worlds and real lives collide with a quest to find the Globe of Magellan.

Not only does this online program give weekly assignments focusing on reading, writing and math with some bonus subjects in between, it does so while following the adventures of Mae Merriweather and her friends from the Grayson Academy of Antiquities. They set off to solve the mystery of the disappearance of famed adventurer Tate Grayson and find the elusive Globe of Magellan. And get this! Merriweather is a fictional character but her quest is real! An actual Globe of Magellan valued at $10,000 will be waiting in the ground for someone to claim it! So an adventure for my kid AND a chance at a $10,000 Globe of Magellan for me! Okay, okay, for her…

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Follow Mae on a summer learning adventure.

One of my favorite parts about the Challenge is that for the math portion Brain Chase uses Khan Academy, a non profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. For reading, participants choose from over 6,000 books in the myOn digital library and read for at least 15 minutes each day. For writing, participants submit a weekly journal entry, which credentialed Brain Chase teachers review online. There are offline bonuses using supplies like a compass and decoder ring that Brain Chase sends in the mail. Online bonuses featuring activities on sites like Google Sky and the virtual Smithsonian. As students complete their work, Brain Chase sends parents weekly progress reports.

Last year my daughter said, “Mommy. I want school to start.” When I asked her why she said, “Summer is boring. All we do is play. I want to learn.” I’m not kidding. She really did say that. Granted, it was at the end of the summer when we were BOTH ready for school to start again. But still…

 

I’m really excited about this local Austin startup and wish them global success. To register your kids for the six week Brain Chase Challenge or for more information, including the Season One Teaser, a behind-the-scenes video, and statistics about summer learning loss, visit brainchase.com. Sign up today through April 30, 2014 for the early registration rate of $149. After that, registration is $199 per participant. Contact info@brainchase.com for general questions. Follow along on Facebook at Facebook.com/brainchase or on Twitter @BrainChase.
— Trish Morrison