The Insiders Guide to Education
By RITES Learning Specialist and Education Advocate Saskia Nilsen, MSE
The summer brochures for camps have already started appearing in the mail, even though the snow has yet to finish melting and, at some point soon, you are going to have to make summer plans for your children. Parents often struggle with the perfect balance of academics to avoid the summer slide and summer fun. There is no one right answer that fits every kid, but there are some strategies to help you find out what will work best for your kid.
How do I know what kind of academic work my kid should be doing over the summer?
In addition to providing a summer recommended and /or required reading list, some schools will send home summer work packets or continue online subscriptions over the summer. Teachers should let you know if your child is fine just doing just the standard recommendations for summer or if there is a target challenge area they recommend for extra practice. Any areas that your child may be getting lower-than-expected grades or is below grade-level benchmarks should be addressed over the summer to avoid further delays.
2. Check your child’s history: Has your child been easy to motivate to read and do work over the summer? Are you good at establishing a summer work routine that doesn’t consist of cramming it all in during the last weeks of August? Have previous teachers expressed concerns in the fall about slides in performance levels from the previous end of year results? Have you noticed that it takes your child a while to get back in gear at the start of each year? These are all good questions to consider as you pick a summer action plan for your kid.
3. Ask other parents what they do or recommend. This is a great way to hear about a kid-recommended camp or activity that receives rave reviews. Parents who have older children who have gone through the grade you are about to enter can give you a preview of what to expect, with tips such as, make sure your child studies the 1-5 times tables over the summer. However, I don’t recommend trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” because summer work is not a competition, but a chance to strengthen individual areas of challenge. Please avoid heading to the teacher store to pick up workbooks recommended by another parent if you know your child does not learn well independently or through pencil and paper activities.
4. Ask RITES: A call to (401) 723-4459 gets you a conversation with a summer learning specialist to listen to you describe your child and develop the perfect educational program together, tailored to your child’s needs. The non-profit RITES offers a variety of educational summer programs across the state and can connect you to the best opportunities for your child.
In the next part in our Summer Action Plan series, we’ll talk about What You Can Do With Your Child at Home.