It is the beginning of June, which can mean many things, but for those of you with little ones between the ages of 6-17, this can only mean one thing: summer break. You remember summer break, right? Sleeping in, countless hours of meaningless television, maybe a bike ride with friends or a friendly neighborhood game of street hockey. For some of you, summer may have seemed like a well-deserved break from the painstaking work you put into the last school year. Getting up early, studying too much (or not enough) for tests and quizzes – summer break is an earned commodity you cash in every June. For others (like myself), summer break was incredible, at least for one week until the under-stimulation and heat exhaustion got the better of me. After that, I found myself counting down the days until the new school year, craving a lecture and altogether the chance to learn something new. I cannot be alone in this, can I?
At this point, I would understand if you stopped reading this – after all, I am admitting to have wanted to be in school during the summer (there is no way I am a credible source!). But hear me out – I was not always like this. Much like the average student, I would have rather created what my friends and I believed to have been a dangerous and challenging obstacle course in the nearby plot of land, rather than sit through school in the summer. That is, at least, until I attended my first summer school.
It was the summer between 6th and 7th grade. I had just graduated elementary school and was nearing the beginning of a new and scary chapter in my life called “junior high”. This strange new place had lockers with unique combinations, a rigid and strict dress code to abide by, and different classes, in different classrooms, taught be different teachers! This was all too new and scary, and I do not think I would have been prepared for these changes would it not have been for the time I spent there in the summer.
My parents decided to enroll me in one week of summer school at my new junior high – whether they had good intentions or thought this would be a punishment for something I probably did and definitely deserved, I will never know. If it was the latter, the joke is on them. My week in summer school was spent making concoctions in a chemistry class where we would ultimately launch a rocket that we built. In biology, we dissected not only the stereotypical frog, but also a small shark (the memories still bring back the smell of formaldehyde!) I spent the week making new friends, familiarizing myself with the school’s floorplan (most importantly, the location of the nearest restrooms) and getting to know the teachers that I would be learning from over the next two school years. Ultimately, my week in summer school was a positive experience, so I asked my parents to sign me up for at least two more weeks’ worth of summer school.
In my older and wiser years, I cannot deny the benefits of learning in the summer.
Here are three benefits of summer school based on my experience:
- Retain what you have learned: Summer school can be the perfect way to retain things you learned in the previous school year. After all, it is easy to forget simple math calculations and scientific formulas if you spend nearly three whole months watching reruns of My Super Sweet Sixteen. Summer school can help students apply what they have learned in a fun, more carefree environment.
- Improve social skills and make new friends: Chances are, not all of your kids’ friends will be enrolled in the same summer school as your little genius – and that is okay! Summer school is the perfect environment for your child to meet and make new friends. Small classes make for a more involved classroom, and relationships made in summer school can last a lifetime.
- Preparedness for the following school year: Summer school is no longer the taboo way of punishing students who did less than exemplary work. These days, summer school is designed to prepare student and help them excel during the warm summer months between school years. Had it not been for my experience in summer school, I would have been a lot less confident walking through the halls my first day of junior high. Instead, I was able to be a helpful way-finder, directing students to the nearest restrooms and already on a last-name basis with my teachers.
Whether or not your child’s school offers summer school classes, there are plenty of community resources that can offer a fun and safe environment for your child to engage in learning in the way they crave!
If your child’s school does not offer summer school, or there does not seem to be a course that your child resonates with, we encourage you to look at our list of Summer Camps. Our Summer Camps @ The Leonardo offer weeklong camps for rising grades K-7 students this June, July and August. Camps are filling up quick! Don’t be caught on the short end of a long summer. Register your little geniuses today at www.theleonardo.org/summercamps