by Katherine Reilly
A few days ago, I finished teaching my summer class and with great delight, proclaimed my school year officially over. The first thoughts that ran through my head were to go to the beach, relax and do nothing. However, I find myself systematically working on new projects while in turn, my students’ parents asked my advice on how to handle their kids during summer. “How much should they study each day?”, “Should they revise or learn something new?” were some of the questions asked before we parted ways for the summer.
There is no simple answer to these questions as each student is unique. Some of my kids were meticulous and passionately adhered to their studies throughout the year. The fatigue on their faces was obvious as they desperately needed to catch their breath during the final days of the school year. Others, however, followed an easier approach, avoiding being pressured and never putting the extra effort needed to excel.
The secret, as in all things in life, is to strike a balance, acknowledging our strong points and weaknesses. Not all students are born geniuses. A “B+” would be considered an average mark for a student of great potential, whereas the same mark would be a deserving one, for another who put the extra effort and surpassed his own abilities. In the end, it’s all a matter of perspective, based on our own abilities and efforts.
In the case of summer studying, there are cases in which both parents and their offspring reach a mutual agreement. They both agree that a break is well-deserved and the need to ‘recharge’ and ‘relax’ is of the utmost importance.
Other cases however, differ as there are students who didn’t put the extra effort and are therefore obliged to study a bit during summer vacation. This ‘break’ is just what they need to catch up and make up for lost time, so as not to lag further during the next school session. Small revisions on a daily basis is key to this and in many cases can lead to an improvement in the child’s abilities as he usually has no other obligations during this period. Parents can also keep their child’s interest if they choose readers which contain small albeit interesting stories or activities. You don’t have to stick to last year’s school books and a change of pace might just be what the child needs.
In answer to the aforementioned question, “Should my child study during summer vacation?” the answer varies. However, a bit of studying on a daily basis will not only keep their minds sharp, but also improve skills which were underdeveloped throughout the school year. Nothing bad can come from it, and in most cases can be quite fun if the material chosen is entertaining and thought-provoking.