How to survive summer learning and enrichment programs
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Kids see summer as a chance to unwind and catch a break from the classroom. If they’re signed up for summer classes, though, it can be hard to stay focused when they’re forced to hit the books instead of the beach.
“Kids should have free time during vacation — they should relax and go swimming,” says Darryl Benjamin, director at Abington, PA's at Abington, PA’s Huntington Learning Center. “But it’s a competitive world, and summer is an opportunity for them to start the next school year above where they ended.”
Indeed, summer courses can be either remedial or enriching, a way of retaking a class to get a better grade, diving into a new course to earn extra credits, introducing yourself to a new subject or getting ready for the SAT or ACT. They’re offered through school districts, online and at private-school academic camps, test-prep centers and tutoring facilities. No matter the why or where, summer classes tend to be designed to weave as seamlessly as possible into the fabric of summer fun.
Keep to a summer learning schedule
Concentration on academics is especially essential for students who are retaking a class they didn’t do so well in during the school year. To maximize success in a course, Burton Watson, director of school and district services at Wilmington, DE’s Red Clay Consolidated School District, offers simple advice:
“Just like during the regular school year, kids need to get to bed early and eat breakfast before school, so they can come and just focus on work,” he says. “A lot of times during the summer, kids want to stay up a little longer, but summer school still starts at the same time as a regular day, so if they stay up, they’ll be too tired to concentrate.”
Many remedial summer programs, including Red Clay’s, differ from the traditional classroom model in that students complete individualized coursework based on specific areas of the subject in which they need to improve. This structure means kids can work outside of school, and the more hours they put in toward successful mastery of the material, the sooner they’ll have free time.
Next page: Summer learning gives a leg up.