Skip to main content

Uggghhhh--Read a book?!?

"Ugggghhhhhhh! Can't I just enjoy the summer?  That's why it's called a summer break. You break from school." Can't I just go outside? "Why do I have to do this now?" "I read a chapter of the book. Why do I have to keep reading?"  Not sure if you heard these during the summer, but we did.

This summer may have been the best of times and the worst of times for my boys.  This summer I put pressure on them to perform academically.  They did it, but they hated it.  I look at it from two perspectives:  and concerned parent and a concerned educator. 

I polled my Facebook friends for a different perspective to see if they 'forced' their children to do academic work during the summer; I surprisingly got a variety of responses.  For instance,  one father said he didn't force them, "but rather presented and for the most part they did not." Another said that they made 'academics' as an fun activity.  On another side, another long-time friend said her child was  "'forced'. He said it was the worst summer ever."  I laughed when I saw that.  I'm beginning to think that my son feels the same way.

Yet, I am sure that this is for the best. They'll see the overall results when they walk back into class and be able to say that they have seen and/ or understand the concepts because they worked over the summer, whether they wanted to or not.  As a concerned parent I only want my child to feel accomplished and ahead of the game. 

From an educator's point of view, maintaining academic endurance during the summer could not be more important. According to information from Wikipedia, 'summer loss for all students is estimated to be equal to about 1 month (Cooper 1996).

  • Mathematics - 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency loss
  • Reading- Varies. Low income students generally lose about 2 months of reading achievement. Middle income students experience slight gains in reading performances.
For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. All children lose academic skills during the summer months, and family socioeconomic status (SES) is highly correlated to the level of academic growth or decline in the summer months. Two-thirds of the academic achievement gap in reading...found among high school students has been explained through the learning loss that occurs during the summer months of the primary school years.Seriously? I have seen how much both my boys have excelled over the years.  Some subjects have been a breeze while there were (and still are) struggles in others.  If I have given them the tools and resources to make gains, it is not my desire as a concerned parent and educator to see them drop academically.  As a teacher, I have witnessed students come back to school from a adventurous break forgetting half the concepts they learned.  This would be a completely different blog if they had the resources and still struggled.  And please don't get me wrong--struggle in the classroom is good.  Here's an analogy: if you lift weights consistently, you become stronger. Yet, if you stop, for a period of time, it is a major effort to get back to the strength you had.  Same with math and reading.

So both my boys went through a Summer Bridge workbook, writing essays, reading current event articles and summarizing them, reading books, and even summer courses on high school and college campuses.  I have heard it said before that parents are the 1st Teacher.  I accept that role gladly. 

So whether your child gladly accepted the work given with vibrant smiles and an enthusiastic desire to grasp the academic concepts of the world or stomped away with loud screeches of tormenting agony, know that if you provided these resources to your children, you have done well. And if you feel like you did not, there is no better time than NOW!

Bravo brave parents...Bravo!  I'm NOS.



Popular posts from this blog

Before you go, I have to tell you this...

My wife and oldest son had been feverishly preparing for this for over two years. A sojourn to Egypt is what monopolized the attention of this house for about the past week. We've been packing, buying last minute items, and anticipating an almost 24-hour travel. As my wife was packing at the gorgeous time of 4:15 am, I was writing some thoughts to my son. I was giving him advice-technical, moral, physical, and spiritual advice. Even while cutting his hair last night, I was advising him. At the end of the letter, I gave him my blessing.

I wrote a letter to Paula as well. And just like the one to my son, I gave her the same type of advice, just more seasoned for her needs. And at the end of the letter, I gave her my blessing. I packed the letters away in their suitcases. They won't see them until they reach their hotel in Egypt.

I learned and was reminded of a couple of things from their upcoming experience. First, perseverance has its rewards. They stuck this program out for over…

It's What's Best For You

I had to have a serious talk with my boys tonight.  I had been noticing some facets of their character that I did not think was necessarily wrong, but it was not what I think was the best.  So just before they went to bed, we had a Five Minute Blitz (our version of a devotional).

As many of you know, I am really working hard to build our famliy on the standards of the Bible.  Well, the backdrop for this conversation stemmed from an abbreviated Deuteronomy 10:12-13:

"And now, O Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your love Him...and to observe the Lord's commands that I am giving you today for your own good?"

I have been noticing that they were not giving their full potential in their everyday lives.  Yes, they are boys...young boys at that.  Yet, I know what they are capable of.  I now understand why my dad pushed me so hard.  He encouraged me (made me) to do chores, to wake up early (6am...ish as a teenager-who does that?) on Satu…

You Never Know -- A Lesson From on Judgements

As I write this we are experiencing Blizzard Jonas, the blizzard of 2016, in which we are expecting anywhere between 12-30 inches with wind gusts up to 65 mph.  Well, we found out that different agencies needed clothing and canned foods.  We had some in the house, so we traveled into DC before the road restrictions took place and receive a $972,463 fine to donate.  My youngest and I walked into Central Union Mission to donate.  As I filled out the donation receipt, an African American man walked in and asked for a free sandwich.  The attendant gave him one without any reservation.  When I really took notice of this man, he looked like all was stable.  He had on a long, black trench coat, was decently shaven, slacks, decent shoes, and a black bag with him.  He left out and I was struck with a 'wow' moment.  Here's why.

The day before, I had on a very similar outfit.  I wore a long black trench coat with a black derby, khakis and carried my black bag.  If you put us side by s…