Summer is supposed to be fun – a break from the daily school routine that takes up the rest of the year. When the final bell rings sometime in May, most kids want to slack off for three months before begrudgingly picking up their backpacks and heading to the bus stop in August.
But summer should also be a time of continued learning. This doesn’t mean that it can’t be relaxed and fun, it just means that a good summer is a bit more well-rounded than just sleeping in and hanging out at the pool.
Set a schedule
It’s summer, right? So that means a sleep-till-noon-all-fun-all-the-time-free-for-all, right?
Well, not exactly. In order to keep your child on a solid path during the summer months, it’s best to introduce a schedule and do all you can to stick to it. A typical summer schedule will be more lax than a school year schedule, with more slots devoted to free play and fun summer activities. But it also will include time for reading, tutoring, and other opportunities for learning.
“Do your best to stick to it consistently. This will create the most benefit for the family,” says Empowering Parents. “That being said, it’s also okay to occasionally alter the agenda to accommodate special plans or catch up on rest if it is needed. One of the key points to remember is that you want your child to have time to relax over the summer without losing all sense of routine. You’ll be surprised at how holding on to a reasonable structure in the summer will give him that extra help so he can transition smoothly when the new school year rolls around in the fall.”
You’ll also find that your child will be more apt to go along with summer education tasks if they are set in stone and planned into a schedule that also includes plenty of fun time.
How to select a solid tutor
Summer is a great time to employ a tutor to help your child with subjects they struggled with during the prior school year, or to help them get ahead on subjects they will study in the upcoming year.
If you have tutoring worked into that summer schedule, it should be easy to find time multiple days of the week for some one-on-one education. When deciding the right tutor for your child, be sure to factor in things like travel time. If you choose, a private tutor, for example, they can come to you so that you don’t have to use up time in your day for commuting to and from the tutoring session.
Making time for summer camp
Summer camp isn’t just about setting up tents in the woods and learning about archery anymore. There are well over 8,000 summer camps in the U.S. alone, and many of them focus on specific activities. If your child is deeply interested in something like sports, dance, music, cooking, or another discipline, a specialized summer camp is a great (and fun) way to continue their education when they’re out of school.
Make sure you do your research and find the right camp for your child. Talk to them about their interests, and make sure the camp’s philosophy aligns with yours. You should also consider safety issues. For example, make sure your child knows to never go near water unattended, but also find out how many counselors will be on duty when campers are taken to the pool or another body of water.
“Is [the camp] one you’re comfortable with as a parent? Is it a good match for your child’s temperament? Is competition or cooperation emphasized? If it’s a camp run by a religious organization, what religious observances or practices are part of the program? If you’re looking at a sports camp that touts an affiliation with a celebrity athlete, how much time — if any — will the sports star actually spend there?” says GreatSchools.org.
Summer should be fun for kids, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have some great learning experiences. Do some research to figure out what’s right for your child.
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