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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.



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