In spite of this erratic Canadian spring, summer really is around the corner. The days are longer, the gardens are lush and green, and the smell of freshly cut grass surrounds me as I get the kids off to school in the morning. It’s my most favourite time of year.
Looking ahead to summer vacation, many parents, including myself, have already planned activities for their kids. Some have their kids’ time booked up solidly – there is a sports camp, arts program, or overnight camp “programmed” for every week of the summer. Others may take off to a northern place to enjoy unstructured time together for two months – to chase grasshoppers and fill the days with whatever they please. For some, a relaxing “stay-cation” is their choice.
I believe that taking a break from the chaos and busy school year is good for everyone in the family. We all need to take a breath and exist without a schedule for a while.
Does school fit in to summer vacation at all?
Do you think your kids should study, or are their nine weeks away from the classroom best spent relaxing and being a kid?
I think the answer to this question depends on the child. If your child is a strong student with decent work habits and learning skills, then yes! Go ahead! Enjoy a school-free summer holiday. Take a break from deadlines, structure, and demands.
But if your child has difficulty with transitions, taking a few weeks or months to get into the groove of school every fall, then consider including some structured learning in his/her nine-week break.
Find a tutor to work with your child on a regular basis to retain math concepts, multiplication tables, and reading skills. Download educational apps to your tablets and smart phones to encourage learning and retention of lessons learned. Visit your local library on a regular basis to borrow books – read them together, and discuss them: make predictions about the stories, discuss character and plot development, and even create new endings.
Transitions back to school in September can be painful and slow for many students, especially the little ones. You can find a balance between relaxation and fun, and a bit of studying. It is very beneficial to many kids.