So were you one of those kids who enjoyed those long, quiet summers where you and your neighborhood friends would get together and swim in the creek or the pool in the backyard, or play baseball, or take a walk to the corner store and get ice cream that melted almost faster than you could eat it?
I have to admit that I was. And I’ve been really hesitant about summer camps and school in the past. For some of our kids, it’s not an issue. My son, for example, loves to read, writes fiction for fun (he takes after Mom), and was always signed up for at least one camp and one week of Vacation Bible School. That worked for him and he does well academically. But if you have a child who is more likely to spend most of his days watching TV or playing video games, you really do need to give some thought to a summer camp or school. Here’s why:
1. Losing Knowledge
Past participle. Sine and co-sine. The Pythagorean theorem. The 19th President of the United States. Gerund. Endoplasmic reticulum.
What does all that have in common? You probably learned it at some point during your academic career. But how much of it do you remember now? Chances are, not much, and it’s not because you’re not intelligent—it’s because you haven’t used it. The same is true of our kids. If they don’t use what they learn during the school year, they will lose some of it over the summer.
2. Practice Makes Perfect
So you have a student who isn’t good at math. Or maybe her memory’s not very good, and so history is a struggle. Do you think an entire summer away from the subject is going to magically make her better?
Think of it this way—if you want to play the piano, be a professional football player, or paint a masterpiece, how do you get there? Practice. You can have all the natural talent in the world, but if you don’t practice, you don’t get better. The same is true of academics.
3. Dull Does Not Equal Idyllic
We tend to remember the best and worst times of our lives. So when we think of summer, do we remember the boring hours we spent waiting for our neighborhood friend to come home from vacation so we could play, or do we remember the volleyball game where we spiked the ball right into our big brother’s face? We’ve idealized our summers as time went on, and naturally we think our kids’ summers should be as good as our memories of ours.
The fact is that kids today are more isolated. We as parents are more fearsome of letting them roam the streets without supervision, and with good reason. So rather than keeping the kids alone indoors, make sure they get out—regularly!—with some friends this summer, whether that’s at camp or at the backyard pool.
Searching for a summer program? Check out R-MA’s programs for day and boarding students.