Ah, summertime is here and with it, summer break. Have you made plans to take advantage of the opportunities that summer’s open schedule brings? If not, that’s okay. It is summer break, after all. Not everything has to be planned.
But if the thought of trying to to find ways for your child to spend the idle days of summer fills your heart with dread, fear not. With just a little planning, you can turn this summer break into an opportunity to help your child become a curious, lifetime learner.
Make this a summer to remember
Are you staring at the calendar wondering how to make this summer a great one? Try some of these ideas to keep your child engaged and learning.
Take an educational staycation
Every region of the world offers its own unique opportunities for learning and discovery. From natural habitats to man-made attractions, you and your child can visit the places near your home and discover together what your region has to offer.
Here in Miami, we are surrounded by many different places to go and things to do that can be both fun and educational for your child. Miami’s Museum Park located downtown offers enough exhibits and attractions to keep you and your child busy for weeks. And of course, Florida’s state parks and wildlife preserves provide exercise and education all in one trip.
On trips likes these, it isn’t necessary for you to give a lecture or require your child to take notes. Children learn wonderfully through experiential learning–seeing and doing.
Shore up your child’s academic foundation
Is your child struggling with a specific school subject? Or are you concerned that without any academic work all summer he or she will fall behind? Offering your child personal learning support and making educational resources available to them during the summer months may help.
In an article titled Summer learning loss: What is it, and what can we do about it? Brookings contributors David Quinn and Morgan Polikoff suggest that when done right, summer learning camps or subject matter support can help students stay on track. It isn’t necessary for your child to spend all day studying, though. A little-focused attention can go a long way.
Engage in interest-led learning
Your child can benefit from access to less structured resources too. This method of instruction is sometimes called delight-led learning because it encourages your child to develop a personal love of learning by allowing him or her to pursue those hobbies or interests that delight him or her.
Interest led-learning is open-ended. Rather than being limited to a lesson plan or single resource, interest-led learning employs whatever information and resources will help your child explore a chosen subject.
Maybe your child has a deep interest that they haven’t had time to pursue during the school year. Or, maybe you’ll help them discover a new interest through the trips you take and the conversations you have. A little time off from the structured pace of the school year may be just what your child needs to spark their imagination.
Internet or no? That’s up to you.
Experts disagree on whether or not kids should spend much–if any–time online. In Young Children Are Spending Much More Time In Front of Small Screens, NPR’s Anya Kamenetz notes that the impact of early access to this technology isn’t yet known. While how much time your children should be allowed to spend online is up to you, the internet can be a useful tool to encourage a reluctant learner.
If you are able to guide your children past the internet’s “junk food” though, there are many unique and engaging educational resources to be found. Students can learn to code or review academic topics at Khan Academy, explore the animal kingdom at Arkive.org, and take a virtual museum tour or learn about a new career at Google Arts and Culture.
Everybody Needs a Break Now and Then
Did you know that relaxation can help you learn? Taking a vacation or doing something “mindless” actually gives your brain the breathing room it needs to process big thoughts. Scientific American contributor Ferris Jabr calls this process getting rid of “cerebral congestion” in his article, Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime.
So don’t be worried if your child spends his or her summer days doing nothing much. That time off may be setting the stage for some great learning.
Thank you for allowing me to share my advice on how you can make this summer an enriching and memorable one for your child. If you’d like to learn more about The Roig Academy’s summer programs, please visit our Summer at Roig page.