Dear Homeschool.com Reader:
Summer is the time when many students travel, take vacation with family and
friends, work in an internship or part-time job, or simply relax and enjoy the
warm weather. But
research shows that students who
don't participate in academically enriching activities are at risk for "summer
slide." Summer slide can result in students losing a month or more of their
learned skills by the time they resume academics in the fall. An
magazine article said, "summer learning loss is cumulative" and can contribute
to long-term achievement deficits.
To help counteract summer slide, most experts recommend that students take part
in some kind of academic activity during the summer. These students can have an
easier transition back to homeschooling in the fall, and even earn better grades
during the school year. But with many families scheduling vacation, sports
clinics, and other activities during the summer, it can be challenging to fit
learning time into the plan.
For families looking for a flexible summer academic option, consider a Laurel
Springs summer course. Our entire
catalog of courses is available during the summer
in a condensed-schedule format. Our semester-length courses take six weeks, and
our year-long courses take twelve weeks. Because these courses follow an
accelerated schedule, it is important for students to apply time management
skills and stay in frequent contact with their teachers. Our six-week and
twelve-week courses begin on Wednesdays and end on Tuesdays, but students can
complete their coursework at any time of day or any day of the week. 97% of
students who took a summer course with Laurel Springs last year would take
another summer course this year. Check out our website to find a
schedule that would work for
Does your child have an interest in digital photography, anthropology, or
forensic science? One of our elective courses can be a great choice for summer.
Some students take a World Language or core course to get ahead before the fall
semester begins. And all twenty of our Advanced Placement (AP) titles are
available as summer courses, with spring exam prep sessions included as part of
Age Appropriate Summer Plans
Whether you have younger children, tweens, or teenagers, summer can be a
time of great growth for them, and also have potential for lots of fun!
Education experts at Laurel Springs recommend age appropriate plans for summer.
High school students are on their way to becoming independent,
self-sufficient young adults. When considering how to make summer plans,
teenagers and their families should consider what is necessary (such as a summer
job or family plans), and what the child enjoys doing. This list can serve as a
great starting point for a family conversation about summer plans:
- Consider a summer job. Teenagers who work during
the summer report an increase in their understanding of personal
responsibility, independence, and accountability.
- Identify volunteer or internship opportunities.
Teenagers 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 high school students to plan a more manageable upcoming school year.
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.
The middle school years are a time for children to balance increased
independence with family structure. Tweens and teens are in a developmental
stage where 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 your middle school child:
- 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 to share the experience.
- 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
- 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
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.
Planning your summer with young children can include a wide variety of
activities. During the elementary school years, children are eager to explore
and soak up new experiences and information. Summer can be a time to take
advantage of more free time, warmer weather, and family time. Here are some
ideas to help you brainstorm for fun summer plans:
- Help your children experience new things.
It may be an ideal time to schedule lessons or camps during the summer for
music, sports, art, theatre, and other passions.
- Don't stop reading. Make regular visits
to the library to find fun books to borrow for relaxed summer reading. Most
libraries have summer reading programs that help make reading feel like fun.
here about how to create a
summer reading list with your child.
- Create your own holiday. Let your
children plan the decorations and festivities. Some fun ideas could include
a birthday party for your pet, or a day with a special theme that your kids
- Use your outside space in unexpected ways.
Your backyard could become the setting for a kid's version of the summer
Olympic Games, a scavenger hunt, an obstacle course, or a nighttime
neighborhood movie party.
- Embrace your local community. Rainy days
are ideal for visiting local museums and historic societies, and sunny days
are perfect for picking your own produce at local farms. Many towns begin
the summer with bicycle safety clinics, which can help your kids feel more
comfortable exploring their immediate neighborhood on wheels.
- Enrich family trips. Whether you are
traveling near or far, family vacations can be a time to research personal
genealogy, or "interview" older relatives about their childhood years.
- Keep a record. Start with a blank
scrapbook or notebook at the beginning of the summer, and enlist the entire
family to tape or paste in tickets, photographs, and other mementos of their
summer experiences, along with quick reflections about their favorite parts
of each experience. At the end of the summer, your family will have a
wonderful record of summer adventures.
Once summer draws to a close, encourage your young children to carry over
their summer experiences into the school year. Whether they become involved in
the Pen Pal Program or other clubs, Laurel Springs provides many ways for
elementary-aged children to connect their personal interests to enhanced
Whether you have a younger child, tween, or teen, preventing summer slide can be
a challenge. Consider enrolling your child in a Laurel Springs summer course to
continue enrichment throughout the summer and keep them on track for the fall.
For more information and to see a list of our summer courses, view our
summer course catalog
or contact our Admissions Department at 800-377-5890.