June 2017, Issue 11
“Developing a Summer Learning Plan”
Discuss with your child the how and why behind summer learning. Make sure he is on board with these ideas and that your expectations of this special time are similar.
Ask questions—several of them! Like all of us, kids appreciate being consulted and listened to. Your child is far more likely to engage enthusiastically in this planning process if she believes her ideas are being considered and valued. Use her answers to construct a learning plan that she will fall in love with.
Depending on the age of your child, not all of these questions will be relevant or necessary. Use only the ones that keep your conversation moving in positive, meaningful directions and remember to keep it fun!
Don’t stop yet. You are just warming up! Keep asking questions and listen closely to your child’s responses. Your efforts will make a lasting impression. To add a few sparks to the discussion, give your teen a copy of What Color Is Your Parachute? For Teens: Discovering Yourself, Defining Your Future by Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles.
When asked questions like the ones above, kids will tend to have one of two responses. There is the child with a burning desire to try it all. While you don’t want to dampen this incredible enthusiasm, it’s ok to step in to help prioritize primary goals—especially in the case of older children. It might prove helpful to rank all of the possibilities in order of their importance to your child.
Then there are children who aren’t yet able to answer questions like these. They might answer each question with, “I don’t know.” That’s ok; asking the questions is important, too. This exercise should be relaxed and pressure-free. Present your questions as just something for your child to think about and let him know he’s free to mull over them at whatever pace he likes. It might be interesting to end the summer with the same questions you started with to show your child how his interests and ideas have evolved.
For more ideas on developing a summer learning plan, please see Rebecca’s newest book, The Summertime Survival Guide for Parents: How to Create a Summer of Wonder, Discovery and Fun!
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