March 14, 2017
Making Summer Count at Every Age
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The younger years are a time for children to
balance increased independence with family structure.
Tweens and teens are in a developmental stage wherein they are finding
their way, but still need the support of rules and guidance from older
family members. Children in this age group can feel empowered by making
more of their own choices, especially when those choices build skills or
help others. Parents can help by providing a framework that has the
desired amount of structure, but still allows kids to develop
independence incrementally. Ideally, summer can be a mix of family time
and activities with peers. Here are some suggestions to explore with
- Incorporate friends into summer activities.
If your family takes a summer vacation, consider allowing your child
to invite a close friend to come along for company; or, coordinate
with the families of your child's friends to select summer camps
where your child will have friends with whom to share the
- Explore hobbies and interests. Summer is a
fantastic time for students to delve deeper into activities such as
sports, hobbies, or other passions.
- Give back. Children who volunteer in an area
of interest learn responsibility and independence while developing
an increased awareness of the needs of others. Research options for
community service with local libraries, religious institutions, and
other nonprofit organizations.
- Maintain academic focus. Taking a summer
course can help children stay focused on academics during the summer
months. Consider a Laurel Springs elective or World Language summer
course, which can be completed according to the student's schedule,
even accommodating travel and vacation plans.
As children progress through the middle school
years, the summer months are a time for families to plan a varied
schedule of relaxation, family time, activities with peers, and some
coursework to maintain intellectual involvement. The key is to find a
balance that allows children to have time with friends as well as
memorable family experiences.
High school students are on their way to becoming independent,
self-sufficient young adults. When considering how to make summer plans,
high school students and their families should consider what is
necessary (such as a summer job or family plans), and what the student
enjoys doing. This list can serve as a great starting point for a family
conversation about summer plans.
- Consider a summer job. High school students who work during the
summer report an increase in their understanding of personal
responsibility, independence, and accountability.
- Identify volunteer or internship
opportunities. Students who engage in volunteer activities or an
internship in an area of interest have a chance to experience a
potential career. Knowing what you don't want to do can be just as
important as knowing what you do want to do. Volunteer and
internship positions are risk-free ways for students to learn what
potential careers would (or would not) interest them.
- Get ahead academically. Summer courses are a
smart way for students to make their upcoming school year more
manageable. When considering a summer course, be purposeful in
choosing which course would be the best option. Laurel Springs
summer courses are student-centric, so assignments can be completed
regardless of travel, work, or other summer activities.
- Visit colleges. High school students can
begin by visiting the campuses of colleges that are local to them.
These casual, unofficial visits can consist of walking through
campus and observing student life. For rising juniors or seniors,
plan official college visits based on a list of colleges where the
student plans to apply. Call ahead to find out about campus tours,
and make an appointment to visit with an admissions counselor.
College visits allow students to get a feel for the type of school
environment that is a good fit.
Because high school students may have a very busy
schedule during the traditional academic school year, it is important to
incorporate time with friends and family when planning what to do during
the summer. As students become experts at balancing coursework, social
activities, work responsibilities, and college plans, summer can be the
ideal time to strengthen those skills in a more relaxed setting.
To find out more about how Laurel Springs helps students succeed with
summer courses, visit their website at