For most students summertime means a break in the schedule, time off from academics, and enjoying a boatload of free time. Students work hard for ten months a year and they have good reason to look on the summer months with expectation and delight. Most teachers enjoy the summer time just as much their students! The words ‘summer school’ can seem like the kiss of death to any child, but there are a lot of really great benefits in signing up for classes over the summer break. It definitely doesn’t have to be a bummer and here’s why:
This is typically the primary reason for students to attend summer school, and it really is a valuable opportunity to have a much smaller class size with more concentrated time spent mastering troublesome subjects. A student who ends the school year with a failed understanding of Pre-Algebra is not going to make a very successful or smooth transition into Algebra the following year. Moving on to more advanced material in any subject when the foundation is shaky or non-existent will be frustrating, defeating, and ultimately set them up for even more failure. Sometimes it’s simply important to reinforce the skills and information learned in a previous subject to bring about the confidence to move forward into a more difficult class. Remind your child that by doing this extra work now they will have an easier time throughout the actual school year. Also make sure to focus on and praise subjects that they do excel in, and explain that repeating a class doesn’t make them a failure.
Working ahead is almost always a great thing when it comes to academics. Taking a class over the summer for credit can reap wonderful rewards for a student during the following school year. It can free up time in their schedule, move them on to college prep classes sooner, and give them a confidence to know that working hard when it’s not required has huge payoffs, like graduating from high school early! Opening up time in a student’s schedule can make them more likely to join sports, run for the student leadership team, start working a job, or take a college class online. It also relieves stress and makes the school year more enjoyable.
Summer school fun may seem like an oxymoron, but many schools offer classes that are not purely academic, but rather a mixture of academics and interesting topics for students. Drama and art classes certainly fall into this category, while robotics combines mathematics with computer science. Classes on writing scripts, producing storylines, and publishing books are not only fun but amazing skills to have at a young age. Most people don’t have the opportunity to try some of these things until they are in college or well into adulthood. Some schools even offer sports camps which can include basketball, volleyball, and soccer. This is also a great opportunity to be social and spend more time with friends.
Summer school classes are typically only half days and usually lasts 4-6 weeks in length, so encourage your child that they will still have lots of free time. Some students only need to attend for one summer and it’s enough to catch them up, but they may want to attend some of the more exciting and fun classes that the school offers. Explain that it is an opportunity to try things they don’t have time for in the school year (chess club or a new sport). If you can’t seem to change their mind about summer school, make sure that part of your child’s summer is filled with activities they really do enjoy and let them have a say in what it looks like. Our own attitude towards school and learning goes a long way in shaping that of our children, so encourage your child to be excited about jumping into the summer school pool with both feet.