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Should Summertime = Studytime?
SuperKids asked the experts.
School's out, summertime is here! Barbecues, camp, Little League, swim lessons, and just hangin' out -- the joys of youth. But does it really make sense to totally drop all formal education efforts? SuperKids asked a panel of teachers for their thoughts, and uncovered some ideas we think will be useful to parents looking for things to do for the next three months.
Our experts included:
Should parents require a certain amount of study time each week over the summer? Do children lose momentum if they spend the entire summer with no formal study?
Avery: It is important for children to have quiet time to focus on activities that require them to use their developing skills. It is crucial for children to put their skills to use in order to maintain their momentum. Rather than having young children participate in "formal study sessions," they can reap the same benefits through rich learning experiences and projects. It is important for young children to read and be read to daily.Is it worthwhile for a child to prepare in advance for coursework they will be undertaking in the fall? Can they get a "head start"?
Avery: Children should be encouraged to work at a pace that suits their individual needs. It's not important to push a child to tackle next year's curriculum unless he/she is ready for the concepts addressed. Exposure to new ideas and new ways of thinking along with ongoing practice is enough to maintain momentum and have a child feel prepared for the fall.What is the best way for a parent to find a tutor for his/her child?
Avery: Most schools have access to a list of tutors that are available to work with children during the summer. I suggest that a parent talk with a teacher to find a tutor who can address the specific needs of the child. It is important to work with a tutor for whom you have received some kind of recommendation. Many local summer schools, learning institutions, or bookstores hear of individuals willing to work with children during the summer.Do you have any special ideas for making study during the summer months fun?
Avery: Children will be enthusiastic if they take the initiative and find activities that have a purpose and a real-life application. Parents can support this by asking questions that encourage children to want to find out information and by helping children formulate questions of their own. Much learning comes from day trips, making library visits, or participating in camp experiences. These types of activities can be documented and extended through keeping a journal, making artistic representations, or writing problems based on experiences. Creating individual projects that require reading, math, writing, science, art, or problem-solving are fun ways for children to continue using and developing their skills.At what ages is it most critical that children continue with their studies over the summer?
Avery: Children of all ages will benefit from doing some kind of work over the summer. It is critical that emerging readers spend time reading a being read to. Given the varying needs of children, it makes sense to have children that need work in math spend some time applying their math skills to help solve a problem and those that would benefit from work with writing find creative ways (and useful ways) to practice their written expression.
There you have it - the sage advice of three experienced teachers. Give it some thought...
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