Ahh, summer vacation. Long days, sleeping in, enjoying the summer sun. It doesn't get better than that, does it? This is especially true for students of all ages who get to enjoy a break with some much-needed time off after a long, difficult year. However, more and more, parents are getting their kids involved in summer school and summer programs because they fear their kids losing a lot of the information they gained during the school year. True, the summer slide is not just a myth; over the summer, kids can lose up to 20 percent of the information they learned during the year. However, is summer school always a good idea for kids, even to prevent the summer slide? Here are some pros and cons to think about before enrolling your child in summer school.
► Summer school, or even just some summer tutoring or extra help, can help prevent the summer slide. The less time a student spends out of the classroom, the more time he or she is learning and retaining the information from the previous year.
► Usually, the number of students attending the summer school is less, so this gives an opportunity to connect with other students and professors.
► Furthermore, if your student has failed a course, summer school may be the only option for him or her to make it up and graduate on time. If they have failed their sophomore year English class, for example, they'll have to take it over next year in order to graduate - which puts them a year - behind unless they complete a summer school program and pass it. This doesn't look the best on transcripts, but can save your student from having to remain in high school for five years, which might be worth it.
► Even if kids aren't in school, they are still learning important skills. While playing, they are building their creativity and imagination as well as learning social skills and conflict resolution, which is as important in our society as English or math.
► Summer school that isn't for making up a class but is rather just for enrichment isn't always healthy.
► A recent study showed that preschoolers who were drilled on their letters, numbers, and colors but given very little time for imaginative play actually fared worse in school when they grew older than their peers who were given lots of time to play. In this case, putting your child in a program over the summer that requires them to learn without fun or imaginative play may make them less likely to enjoy school during the year.
► Summer classes are usually fast-paced, so students have to learn in less time than attending whole year. Even professors tend to teach the subjects quickly, which only harms the overall education of students.
► Summer schools are usually expensive and some may not provide funding for scholarships during the summer. Even student loans may not be available for summer classes.
► Summer schools usually have smaller selection of courses, so students will have less choice and probably forced to take classes not their choice.
If summer school or summer programs aren't for you or your child, don't fear. There are many ways you can encourage playtime and ensure that your child doesn't get too far behind. Try reading with your child during the summer. This will be beneficial from a learning standpoint. Reading with your child is a great chance for you and your kid to bond. If reading isn't your thing, or if your child needs more help with math than reading, try doing science experiments that involve math. These are fun, hands-on activities your kid will love while learning.
Summer school can be a good opportunity for students who need it, but can also be difficult for students who need a break. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide whether or not summer school is the right choice for your child. If you keep these points in mind, you can easily make the right decision.