Fun or Academics? - The Best Choice for your Child's Next Summer Vacation

September 1, 2013

Confused

As summer 2013 winds up and we start sending our children back to school, we should take time to reflect on how our kids spent their summer, and evaluate what’s best for their development – to pack their non-school months full of as much fun as possible, or to take advantage of that time to jump ahead academically? Both viewpoints are valid. Here are some arguments for each.

Fun: In a world that has children preparing for their SATs in Middle School, it’s not hard to make the case for some good old fashion fun: baseball, swimming, camping out, watching movies, sleeping in, and having sleepovers are a welcomed break for a student whose been working hard at school for the past 9 or 10 months. Some argue that we put too much pressure on our kids to achieve success and we need to just allow them time to be kids.

Academics: There is a reason that SAT prep starts so early in life – life is competitive. For those of us that want our students to have a shot at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Yale we know that time is a precious commodity that we can’t afford to waste. Research also tells us that students do lose some of what they learned in the school year over summer vacation – making it possible to move backwards if we’re not pro-active. So parents of this school of thought are ready to get their kids into summer academic programs as soon as possible.

The author’s take on this: (full disclosure – I’m the CEO of a Summer Academy that improves students English skills, a former teacher, and a parent). The answer to the question – fun or academics for summer vacation - is both. But it takes a little bit of work and research on the parents’ part to find the right program or activities. The parents in the “academic” school of thought are right in that we cannot just surrender to the summer months and let our kids lounge away – They will move backwards academically, and it really isn’t great preparation for life. The “fun” parents are right, too. Our kids have worked very hard – and have sat down and listened for months on end – they have done their homework diligently, and now it’s time to relish in life and the joys of childhood. Continuing with “sit down” learning through the summer months can even lead kids to resent the work their doing when it causes them to miss out on their childhood.

One great solution to this debate is to find a high quality summer camp that is academic in nature, but teaches its content through activities in a social environment – enough with the pencil and paper exercises – it’s time for your child to EXPERIENCE! We know that learning is most effective when it’s meaningful and authentic. So whether its Science camp, Technology camp, English camp, or even Math camp – do your homework, parents, and find out how the content is taught. If it’s not fun – it’s not the way to go.

So as your child heads back to school, it’s not too soon to start thinking about next summer. What fun learning experience do you want your child to take away from summer?

To learn more about our program and how your child can learn English and have fun during next summer's vacation please visit our website. Applications are open!

Until next time!