As the end of the school year approaches, students’ minds wander to the coming weeks of freedom. Summer camp, lounging at the beach and hanging out with friends, along with an occasional summer job, will fill up the brief time between now and when school starts again in the fall.
And while summer is fun, the fall semester always begins with sweeping out the summer cobwebs. With months spent not thinking about school, students easily forget last year’s work and have to review. It’s a time-honored tradition, from first grade through high school.
So how can students at all levels keep the summer cobwebs at bay? Here are a few tips:
READ! Get a head start on next year’s English class reading. Read a classic—even if it’s not on next year’s list! Read the newspaper. Read with your kids—no matter how old they are.
Talk about current events. With the national election coming up in the fall, the summer will be filled with election news and information that can be discussed at almost any grade level. For high school students, the election is an excellent real-life opportunity to get a civics lesson in how democracy works. For students interested in finance, the tumultuous European economy is also an interesting current event to discuss at the dinner table.
Set up a regular, weekly time to do some academic work together. Whether it’s Sunday morning after you read the paper, or a weekday evening, set aside an hour per week—the same time every week—to work with your child on something related to their school work. For younger students, math or spelling workbooks can keep these subjects fresh and their minds sharp. For high school students, explore college websites or test prep sites—like the College Board’s free SAT prep—for an hour per week. Starting this over the summer will lessen the amount of time you will need to spend on the college search down the road, and setting aside a regular weekly time is a good idea for students who will soon begin their college search in earnest.
Just a little bit of time and effort spent on keeping those young minds sharp over the summer will make going back to school in a few months—just a short 8 weeks for LAUSD students this summer—a little bit easier.