As a parent, no one wants their child to move backwards academically, but keeping his or her mind sharp over the summer can be a challenging task. Even if you do have the time and the know-how to create a summer learning program, children are frequently reluctant to dive into their studies when they know they could be out playing instead.
Luckily, parents need not rely on their own resources to provide summer enrichment activities. There are plenty of external learning sources parents can tap into, and often these resources are accessible in their own neighborhoods and communities. Interested? Here are some ideas for making your child’s summer vacation a learning experience without wearing yourself out:
- Discover Your Local Library
When was the last time you or your child darkened the doors of your local public library? If it’s been a while, it may be time to stop by, or at the very least, check out their website for information on summer programs. Many public libraries are becoming quite creative and generous in their summer offerings, going beyond the usual summer reading lists and encompassing new activities such as teen book clubs, photography classes, science demonstrations, and more.
- Seek Out Private or Group Classes
Has your child expressed an interest in learning to play an instrument or honing his or her art skills? Professionals often offer private and/or group classes during the summer months when they know that kids will be out of school. While these types of “extracurricular” activities may not help your child retain spelling or math skills, they will keep his or her mind active while exploring a new interest.
- Look for Tutors
If your child has been struggling in a specific academic area, you can be certain that the problem won’t correct itself over the summer. In fact, it will likely get worse unless you take some steps to help fill in the gaps before school starts again in the fall. The summer months provide the perfect opportunity for your child to catch up with the assistance of a private tutor. Educators often offer tutoring services over the summer to supplement their salaries, so look for a certified teacher in the area your child needs remediation in, and schedule a weekly or biweekly lesson.
- Consider a Comprehensive Program
If you feel your child needs more enrichment than a simple lesson or class can provide, consider a more structured summer program offered by an established school or university. These comprehensive programs often last a week or more and can give your child the opportunity to study a topic in depth or sharpen skills in a particular area. For instance, Meritas’ annual summer seminar, entitled Meeting the Challenges of Democracy, will provide students with the opportunity to travel abroad while studying one of the most important topics of our time. If you would prefer something more local, you may consider some of the summer programs offered by our individual schools, such as Henderson International School’s Summit Ridge Day Camp or one of the many summer enrichment opportunities hosted by Rancho Solano Private Schools. For information on all of our schools’ summer programs, visit our website and click through to each school’s individual site.
As you seek to provide your child with the stimulation he or she needs this summer, don’t feel as if you need to go it alone. Instead, keep your eyes open for learning opportunities in your local area, and choose those that best suit your child’s individual needs and interests.