Summer Learning: Five MUST-DOs
May 23, 2017
Who isn’t excited for the lazy days of summer?! Especially after what could have been a challenging school year. Time to put any social dramas, challenging subjects, or “not a good fit” teacher-student relationships behind us. September will be a fresh start.
Keep in mind, though, it’s often the same kids who have trouble during school that have difficulty finding that right balance of fun and productivity during the unstructured days of summer.
Here are a few suggestions that will keep the sanity and the fun.
No kid needs the rigid school year structure, but a complete lack of summer schedule isn’t healthy either. Create a visible daily schedule and hang it up. Good things to include: wake-up time, bedtime, allowed screen time, chores and specific activities.
Nothing is a better motivator than finding what you truly love. Consider having your child try a new camp focused on a sport, visual arts or music. Or let them choose a large project to organize, plan and follow-through to completion. Our favorite site for finding a project is the free website DIY.org. Keep in mind it’s best for you to make suggestions, but for your kid to decide. If they have trouble deciding, give them three good options and then step back.
Every child should experience the joy and satisfaction of giving back. Summer provides great opportunities. Consider an hour or two a week at a local organization. Or perhaps have your child commit to a full week and help the organization out while their regular employees are taking their own vacations.
4. Re-discover the Joy of Reading
Sadly, many kids stop reading for pleasure when they hit the heavier workload of middle school. Yet again, summer leisure offers great opportunities to engage. Go to the library or bookstore and pick out one or two books. Use a site like Bookopolis if you need suggestions. If even that commitment seems like it could be a struggle, consider these ideas for what we call “reluctant readers.” Or, try listening to audio books during car rides. Audio books offer many of the same benefits of independent reading but they’re something you can share and won’t feel like work. Once your kids listen and enjoy, they are more likely to pick up a book on their own.
Many psychologists and scientists lament the loss of unstructured nature experiences for kids. They believe that these lost experiences are negatively affecting children’s ability to think creatively, problem solve and communicate. If a national park is an option, check out this amazing site from the National Park Service. Or perhaps develop a new outside hobby like gardening. Don’t try to defend sitting inside on a beautiful summer day. Get outside!
We hope you enjoy your unofficial start of summer this weekend.
If you are a teacher or tutor thinking about next year, please contact us for our end of school year savings.