Let’s say you decide your children need a break from school, so you keep them home from September to December. How well will they do in class after missing three months of school?
Can you say Cs and Ds?
Now relate that scenario to the summer months. Not keeping your child academically active during the summer is the same as keeping them out of school from September to December. In both cases, you’re robbing them of three months of learning.
“Summer Slide” refers to the three months of academic progress children are proven to lose during the summer months. What’s a parent to do?
Enroll them in summer camp, of course.
Choosing one is like trying to find the right grain of sand on the beach. The possibilities are endless. My advice for choosing the best summer day camp for your child is to ask yourself the following questions (I’ll address overnight camps in a later post):
- How much are we able to afford? Most summer camps cost, but some are surprisingly affordable. The key is to look for places that offer low-cost or free camps. Contact local city recreation programs, children’s organizations (such as the Boys and Girls club or the YMCA) and colleges and universities. You might get a lot of, “Sorry, we don’t provide that,” but keep at it. And always ask, “Can you refer me to another organization that might know about summer camps?”
Also, once you find a camp, it never hurts to ask for a discount or a payment plan if you’re struggling financially.
- What is my child interested in? If he or she is into nature, baseball, science, art or music, you’re in luck. Many camps are geared to topics like these. Or maybe your child wants to explore something new, like theater or technology. A website called http://www.summercamps.com helps parents find camps by subject area and location.
- What skills does my child need to build? Use camps to strengthen skills that will help him do better in school. If his Math scores are diving and he’s struggling through Science assignments, Math and Science Camps would be perfect. And camp leaders make the subject as fun as possible since they know this might not be your child’s first choice for a summer activity.
- Which camps fit best with our schedule and where we live? You’ll have to chauffer your children back and forth to camp, and so make it easy on yourself. Make sure the location and times are convenient. Find nearby parents willing to carpool if you choose the same camps.
- Where can we get references and honest feedback? Ask other parents about their experience with specific camps. Teachers and counselors might be able to tell you which are the good and bad camps. Use “Yelp” or “Google” to get feedback, but take it with a grain of salt. Most people only write reviews when they’ve had problems; there may be far more people who were satisfied and didn’t bother to let others know.
- What feels right to us? After you do the research and narrow your choices, it’s always good to listen to your gut. If you felt comfortable talking with camp representatives, and you like what you heard about the daily activities, then go for it. But listen to that little voice that says, “We really can’t afford this,” or “We’re not sure if our children will like this kind of setting.”
Miracle Math Coaching offers Summer Camps that have gotten rave reviews from parents and students. The camps make Math fun and even introduce young people to outdoor “brain building.” Who knew that exercise made you smarter? Campers are also learning skills to help them conquer the Common Core when school starts again.
Sign up today. And feel free to call me directly at 707-398-3474, ext. 1 to learn more about Miracle Math’s academic coaching services. Miracle Math Coaching is an award-winning, student-focused service with a track record of boosting academic achievement.