Summer Vacation Should Include Vacations, Camps and Academics
How Will You Spend Your Summer Vacation?
Are your children and their teachers counting down the days until the last day? At the end of the school year, students can be so stressed with projects and final exams as everyone scrambles to get all the last minute work finished. Some students view those two and a half months as freedom from all academics, thinking they can sleep late or go to the pool without having to crack open a book. At any age, students of all levels and abilities can incorporate learning into their summers to strengthen developing skills, get back on track, or expand an area of interest. The good news is you can find the balance between rest and encouraging your children to continue learning with summer enrichment programs.
What the Experts Say
Multiple studies have shown that it is not just your imagination: students do lose some of what they learn over an extended school break. Test scores drop after the summer, and the beginning of the school year is spent relearning what has been forgotten. Children do work hard in school and definitely need that break to prevent burnout. Having some time off is beneficial, but too much time off can set back many students at the start of the next school year.
Need versus Want
Children of every age need time to play, socialize, and discover their interests, three things that may be limited during the school year. Summer enrichment programs can fill that need for both by providing structure during the day while allowing for exploration, socialization, and lots of fun. The pacing of the academic component of these programs is not as rigorous as a school curriculum but still encourages critical thinking, skill enhancement, time management, and goal setting. They may also improve an overall attitude towards learning when it is more student-driven instead of required. Learning is not limited by the school year or even summer review; parents can integrate educational opportunities into travel or staycations by exploring and trying new experiences.
Finding What Works
From kindergarten to senior year, students can benefit from summer review. A great place to start is with a comprehensive assessment of skills taught during the year to see what your children learned and retained. Grades, especially on the elementary level, may not always be the best indicator of performance, and some concepts may have been overlooked along the way. The information gained from an assessment is useful to determine the focus of a summer enrichment program that fits your student. The benefits of programs for your children include:
- Strengthening areas of weakness
- Improving math, reading, grammar, and writing skills
- Reinforcing a subject to be better prepared for the next level
- Getting a head start on challenging subjects for advancement
- Starting off the new school year strong and more confident
For high school students, the summer provides an additional benefit of extra time. Students in their junior or senior year should consider enrolling in an SAT or ACT prep workshop during break when they have time to devote to review and preparation. It is more of a challenge when extracurricular activities and the workload of a school schedule compete for a student’s time and focus.
Whether your student needs a little bit of help or more engagement to stimulate a curious mind, you can find ways to keep summertime fun and educational. Give your children some input into summer enrichment programs to get them excited about learning over the school break and incorporate learning into recreational activities through communication. By keeping their minds and bodies occupied and taking advantage of learning opportunities, you may be able to encourage a life-long love of learning and exploring in your children that goes beyond a summer vacation. Talk to our experienced tutors at Carolina Academy for Educational Excellence about SAT/ACT prep, one-on-one tutoring, or summer review to be proactive for the next school year and visit our website for more information.