Top 5 Questions A Parent Should Consider Before Making Summer Plans
1. Is my elementary child performing above grade level in reading and math?
If the answer is no, then you need to keep reading. Above grade level is not always reflected in the grade your student receives. Grades are subjective and not always as they appear. Parents should understand that grades are not measuring the same academic standards or performance for each child. For example, if a child with an Individualized Education Plan (I.E.P.) and has accommodations and modifications on work makes straight A’s, how does that correlate to a child without an I. E. P. whose grade level in reading and math is rated at a B level? Parents should instead base their summer plans on whether their child was in a Tier 2 or 3 reading and or math group during the school year. If so, it is important to use the summer to enhance weak skills, as scientific data clearly show that many children, especially boys and girls who are performing below expected levels, lose reading skills over the summer.
2. How does one balance a child’s academic growth with play, rest, exploration and pursuit of the child’s passions?
I hear parents tell me all of the time that they “feel bad” making their child attend an hour of intervention during the summer. They feel like their kids need a break. My response is that there are 24 hours in a day. Let’s say that the average elementary student gets 10 hours of sleep, that leaves 14 hours to find balance between play, passion, and performance. If the average child spends 1 hour a day 5 days a week in educational remediation or enrichment, you should consider yourself an awesome parent!
3. What is the most time-efficient and effective method of delivering remediation?
This is specific to each child and their individual need. However, it is important to note that to change the brain, remediation should be delivered with intensity, duration and frequency. Children love structure and order, so pick the same time every day in the summer to provide the services. The child knows what to expect and it becomes second nature. If you start enriching your child's learning in the summer, then that child does not know any other way and will learn the value of always growing and learning.
4. Who should work with my child over the summer?
It is important that you find the right place, person, and path for your child. I am not a fan of placing a child in a program just so the parent can check it off of their list. I would rather a child not be in a program at all if it is not uniquely made to fit that child and motivates life long learning. Learning should be fun and engaging and the child should want to go. Trust me when I say if it is the right fit, the child will not mind at all.
5. How urgent is the need for remediation?
If your child is not in high school and is struggling, then it should be urgent for you to stop the struggle. The problems need to be addressed and fixed prior to entering high school and the sooner the better. The longer the child goes using bad habits and inefficient learning skills, the harder and longer it takes to change.
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