Any mom and dad will tell you: “It takes a lot of planning to be an effective parent.” While some things can happen in the “spur of the moment,” parents know that the more important events and milestones involve setting goals, allocating time, and careful planning.
So what are some parents thinking about now, as summer approaches? Some are probably considering whether they took the right approach last summer. If the goal is for children to hit the ground running when fall rolls around, parents will need to plan effectively. Leave kids to their own devices and they may experience the summer slide. Overload them, and they may begin to resent you and learning in general.
Use it or Lose it
Difficulties with math calculations and spelling are two areas which are often affected by a long summer break. Students simply forget how to use numbers and letters. It’s the classic “use it or lose it” syndrome. It’s also been proven through various studies over the years. Summer learning Loss, as it’s called, is a big challenge for students across North America.
Of course, not having a break from schoolwork could also lead children to become exhausted and listless. The key here is some form of balance; a balance you can attain through experience and planning of summer activities.
It is extremely important to know your youngster and understand how he or she deals with the shift from school to vacation and then back to school. If you have not done so in the past, you can start with observing how your kids react to school and the problems that seem to arise. If the same problems arise each year, there’s an opportunity for you to consider how you can influence the situation. Does your child need to continue to focus on learning through the summer months? Are supplemental learning programs needed?
Planning for the Future
Long-term planning is an on-going challenge for parents. If thinking ahead to next summer is important, then thinking ahead to college is the next logical step. Most parents think readily about planning for the financial side of those college years. And while there’s no avoiding the importance of finances, preparing your child for the learning challenges they will face is just as important.
Far too many parents save money for their kids to go to college, only to find that they haven’t scored high enough on university entrance exams to meet the requirements; or that their grades aren’t high enough to get into their first choice college. Long term academic planning is as vital as long term financial planning.
One week, one month, or even one year isn’t enough time to prepare your kids for this important educational hurdle. Consistent, regular review of your child’s school work is the only insurance you have that your kids will be ready academically by the time you are ready financially.
No matter how you plan to develop your children for academic success, there are a few key skills you'll want to focus on. These are:
- Math Skills – The link between math skills and academic success is the reason why math scores are a strict university entrance requirement around the world.
- Work Skills – The importance of being on time, well organized, and able to problem solve.
- Self-Learning Skills – Teach a child to fish - okay. But teach a child to self-learn and they’ll teach themselves how to fish!
- Time Management Skills – Time is limited. Children who can use time efficiently can achieve more.
- Reading/Writing Skills – Critical to the acquisition of new knowledge and the sharing of ideas.
The Kumon Instructor
One of the biggest assets a Kumon Parent has in developing academic readiness, is their Instructor, because a Kumon Instructor uses the Kumon Method and individualized planning to help nurture these fundamental skills in each student. They will also help in keeping track of worksheet progress, repetitions, completion times, and goals, which can give you tremendous insight into your child’s potential for academic potential and success.
All of these factors are indicators of your child’s current abilities and academic potential. And however you choose to go about it, some of the most important decisions you will make are those pertaining to academic readiness!
How are you preparing your children for their academic future? Let us know in the comments section below!
If you enjoyed this article, check out some of our other success stories here. To find out more about the Kumon program and what it can do for your child, schedule a parent orientation at a centre near you!