Summer Planning for Continued Academic Success
The title “Mom” only has three letters, but it is possibly one of the most inclusive job descriptions known to man. Mom is easily translated as “super hero who can and will do anything for the ones who are closest to her.” That being said, I understand that the idea of doing a summer academic plan may seem overwhelming, unnecessary, like overkill and not a priority. However, before you abandon the idea of summer academic planning, consider this: statistics suggest that children who are not academically engaged over the summer can lose up to 25 percent of the skills they gained during the school year. Maybe a summer plan is not such a bad idea after all.
The purpose of an academic plan is to create a successful strategy to help your student achieve a particular set of educational goals. An effective plan does not need to be overly complex or long. It should clearly state what you want to accomplish, how you plan to do it and in what time frame. To keep it fun and simple, I recommend that you plan your summer in four-week blocks instead of all at one time. Using this approach is less time consuming for you, and it allows you to plan in concert with what is going on in your life.
For example, if you have a beach trip planned for the end of July, your planning block for that time period will be a beach theme. Take a look at this:
Week 1: Geography – Have your student study maps and locate beaches. They can compare mileage from your home to the beach, from grandma's house to the beach, from Uncle Sam's house to the beach, and so forth.
Week 2: Business/Math – What businesses are at the beach (hotels, restaurants, leisure activities)? What type of inventory do these businesses have? How much are the prices? Use your parental imagination to create fun word problems that promote critical thinking.
Week 3: Vocabulary – What are some vocabulary words associated with the beach? What do they mean? How are they spelled?
Week 4: Reading – Offer your student fun, grade-level appropriate reading material about the beach.
Academic planning around your summer activities is fun and very effective. My approach to summer planning easily accommodates varying ages, grade levels and financial budgets. You can be creative and whimsical or keep things plain and simple, as long as you commit to planning. Your plan will help your child retain the information learned during the school year and also help prepare him or her for success in the fall.