Keeping Kids Sharp Over the Summer

Most people don’t like the practice of taking the summer off from school. It’s an antiquated system left over from the days of farming. Educators say they would be able to make more progress with a shorter break. Parents have to rearrange their lives to accommodate kids that need somewhere to go for a few months. The only people who like it are the ones that don’t have a vote: the kids themselves.

That being said, there’s no way around it. To make matters worse, studies have shown that a student loses roughly half of what they learned in the previous school year by not being mentally active during the summer.

Keeping Kids Sharp Over the SummerHere are some ways to keep that from happening:

Camps that are more than s’mores and rope swings

We ran a post a few weeks ago about the most extreme summer camps around the country. And while these places are incredibly cool, you might not have one near you or maybe your child isn’t interested in some of their themes.

However, if you’re considering a summer camp, make sure it has some thought-provoking elements to it. Camps are starting to realize that parents are looking for more than just swimming in a lake and would prefer an experience that prepares them for the upcoming school year. Seek out one of those camps.

Facilitate practice at home

Since a lot of the software used in classrooms is now web-based, schools will often provide login details so kids can practice at home. What some parents don’t realize is that those systems are often not shut down for the summer; they can still be used to keep kids sharp.

Some schools and software providers even have contests where kids who stay engaged with the systems over the break can win prizes. Don’t be a taskmaster about this practice (it is summer after all), but remind them about the option occasionally. If the software is good, they might be asking you if they can play some more.

Ask about extra credit

Some teachers provide opportunities for students to earn credit toward the next school year’s work by doing a project or two during summer. If your child’s teacher doesn’t, ask if it’s a possibility. The worse they can say is no.

The best projects are ones that the kids will be doing already for fun. For example, you have a family trip planned. An older student will naturally have their phone with them and will probably take a few pictures along the way. Organize the pictures into a slide show or presentation and you have a project that can fit a lot of different subject areas.

Athena Can Help!

Athena Learning Centers is enrolling students for summer courses in enrichment/remedial math and reading, executive functioning skills, script writing, financial literacy for kids, writer’s enrichment workshop, book publishing and ELL. Go to to find an Athena Learning Center location near you.

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