As parents, you work hard to maintain a balanced lifestyle for your children. You constantly juggle the often overlapping requirements of family, friends, school and extracurricular activities as you attempt to provide an environment for your children that is healthy, educational and fun.
This task, difficult at the best of times, is even harder in the summer when vacation activities push education to the bottom of the list. Experts believe that parents who assign a low priority to their children’s education in July and August often have a problem in September when they are forced to re-establish the patterns and habits needed for academic success.
Luckily, the conversation on summer learning is alive and well at Kumon! We’re biased, but we think the summer months present a special opportunity to get ahead. One of our instructors, Slavka Jasari, refers to summer time as the “miracle months” – a time where kids can progress easily because of the reduced course-load that summer brings.
“Starting in April, I tell all my new families to really think about the summer months - school will be out, so kids will have more time on their hands and doing just one small bit of work every day, for the two months of summer holidays, can you imagine the progress and how much better and stronger they will be when they go back to school? You will feel like it is a miracle. Parents like it and even students [like it], because I really make it sound easy - just 20-30 minutes of small work a day but the pay-off is huge.”
Of course the real problem is convincing your children to give up some of their vacation time for schoolwork. Most of them will argue that they don’t need to improve. So here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to talk to your children:
- How will your child benefit from a summer educational program?
- What skills would you like your child to learn?
- What goals does your child hope to achieve in the summer?
- What program best suits your child’s needs?
- How will the program maintain your child’s interest?
If you try to consider your child’s needs and interests, they might become much more excited about the prospect of cracking open a few books in the summer time!
After you’ve rallied your kids, you’ll need to do a bit of leg work to get the ball rolling. Thankfully, there are many ways to include educational programming in your child’s summer. Here are some good places to start:
- Supplementary educational programs (like Kumon) promote progress in Math, Reading, and learning skills.
- Most local libraries have Summer Reading Clubs to build interests, knowledge, and skills.
- Regional YMCA’s provide clubs and programs ranging from art, drama, and music to computers and cooking.
- Regional conservation authorities generally offer educational and discovery workshops focused on specific topics.
Remember, when it comes to your child’s education, a good decision in the fall is likely to be a good decision in the summer as well. Just as summer is a good time for children to improve their skills in sports and activities, it’s also a good time to have children apply themselves academically.
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