Summer is a time to kick back and I’m all for that. It’s also the time for your high school-aged child to move ahead in some way – possibly exploring their interests through a volunteer, job shadow or internship experience. And, of course, paid work is quite helpful in many ways.
In addition to these major categories, however, I also recommend that students spend time each week on areas that will help avoid “The Summer Slide,” a well-documented phenomenon in which students lose academic ground over the summer.
The National Summer Learning Association states that many students:
- Typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
- Lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. And those that do not read, lose ground there also.
So, if your student hopes to arrive back in school at the same academic level as he or she left in June, they need to engage in some educational activity over the summer. I always like to give kids a break until after 4th of July from any formal expectations, but now it’s time to get going!
This is, of course, particularly important if your child is a rising senior and plans to take the ACT/SAT in the fall. That prep is critical in the summer months. In addition to formal test prep, studies show that READING IS THE BEST WAY TO BOOST TEST SCORES. This is something your child should know and understand – consistent reading will give them more options when it comes to college admissions and success once at college.
Your child’s high school has likely assigned a book over the summer. Even better is if they engage in reading in addition to this assigned book. It can be magazines on a favorite topic, travel brochures, newspapers, etc., not to mention games such as crossword puzzles, scrabble and Bananagrams. It is helpful for kids to see other family members reading as well.
If your child is not an enthusiastic reader, I suggest sitting down for a serious discussion about what will work to get them engaged in reading this summer. Some students may find it best to use books on tape to listen and read along simultaneously. An old fashioned chart on the frig may work best with a minimum of 30 minutes of reading per day. In general, the more the better – no need for moderation here!
Your child may have a subject in which they really struggle. Or, maybe they need to work on organizational and/or study skills. In these cases, consider getting a jump start by working with a tutor for the month of August, so that they arrive back at school in good shape.
One website that I highly recommend for improving vocabulary and grammar, math, languages, sciences and geography is www.FreeRice.com. Not only is the format fun, as you progress, you are actually donating rice to third world countries. For language study, try https://www.duolingo.com/. And for math, science, computer science and more, www.khanacademy.org will keep students learning all summer.