As part of her IEP, Sweet B participates in an extended school year program.
This is almost the equivalent to summer school, though it’s in a more informal setting. She still receives some services and those are mainly in place to ensure that she doesn’t regress over the summer. This is also the time of the year that I start planning for her afterschooling and we also look into autism-friendly options around Albany. But, for kids who don’t necessarily need to attend summer school, is it really beneficial to send them to summer school?
For that matter, what are the benefits of sending kids to summer school?
Why would your child need to go to summer school?
I’ll give you one scenario.
After I had my first child, I was still a sophomore in high school. So I spoke with my guidance counselor about taking one of my mandatory classes over the summer instead of trying to cram it into my already full half-day schedule for my junior year. It worked out for the best and I took my one class (Health) over the summer. I was able to get out of school during the year after 5th period and spend the rest of the day being a mom. While still juggling homework and choir.
In my situation, attending summer school was perfectly reasonable. And summer school offered me the option to balance motherhood and being a teen.
But what about kids who don’t need to attend? Are parents doing more harm than good by sending them to summer school?
The Potential Benefits of Sending Kids to Summer School
Summer school can be a wonderful choice for the right child and the right school. Whether the child is falling behind or they (or the parents) just want them to excel and get ahead academically.
When considering summer school for a child of any age knowing the benefits of summer school is a big help.
There are many ways in which attending summer classes can aid in a child’s education and future. Some of these include smaller size classes, reduction in time it takes to graduate and keeping from failing a class or grade.
Smaller class sizes typically mean that students will get more one on one attention from the teachers. This can be a huge benefit especially when the child is having difficulty in certain classes.
The class room size also encourages a more relaxed, laid back atmosphere than during the regular school year months. Some believe that when a child attends summer school it helps them keep focused on their education because without the vacation the school routine is not broken.
However students who are already focused on their education may not see the benefits of summer school as others do.
Another benefit is it can help a child who has begun to fall behind or is in danger of failing to academically catch up. Summer school can allow a child to make up credit for a failed class. And with the more. Relaxed atmosphere can provide a more positive experience.
Does summer school help with getting into college?
A main reason parents decide to send a child to summer school is to aid in preparing for college. Summer classes can help to raise a student’s GPA and help to increase their potential to get into the college if their choice. The extra credits that can be acquired through taking summer courses can be a big help when it comes time to fill out those college applications.
These days the competition in good universities is fierce, and having those extra credits can go a long way in helping a child stand out among the thousands of others applying for the same spots.
Some parents and even experts believe that children forget a substantial amount of the skills and knowledge they have gained during summer vacation. This loss has been the subject of many studies some of which have found that although some students don’t lose as much, all students lose some of what they gained in the previous school year.
Many of these studies that whether it be voluntary or mandatory summer school programs have positive effects on children. It is the belief of many that any child can learn just about anything as long as they are given enough time and proper teaching. Summer programs can offer this extra time and additional instruction to aid a child in mastering difficult material.
The benefits of summer school are many and varied.
Which of these benefits a child will receive can depend on the reason for attendance and the program’s effectiveness. However most children can benefit in some way. Whether the decision to send them was to catch up or to get ahead summer school programs can be a great advantage to any child.
There are sometimes situations, particularly in the lower grades, where the school may be more lenient in excusing a child from attending, especially when it isn’t a requirement to passing but is only a recommendation.
An example of a good excuse for this would be when a child is scheduled to stay with a parent who doesn’t live in the home, in another city or state. There are also times when parents don’t agree the reason the child is failing is academic. Instead it is due to some personal or stressful situation which lead to absences or the child having been too distracted to really do their best.
Is summer school always the right choice?
The lower grades are usually easier to accept good arguments as to why a child should not have to attend summer classes. Arguing that a child doesn’t need the extra time in school will have a stronger chance of success if the child usually is a good student and this failure is uncommon.
If it is the parent’s choice to send a child than this could get difficult because most of the time attendance is based on a teacher’s recommendation, and to get a child accepted a strong argument as to why must be made. To aid in building this argument keeping records of a child’s performance and grades is a good way to start.
If the parent can not get the school to allow attendance and they strongly believe it is necessary, considering private organizations or learning centers may be best.
However these are usually not free so another option could be talking to a teacher or the school district about borrowing books and lesson plans so the parent can teach the child themselves at home over the summer vacation.
Then the are the parents who firmly believe that their child needs the summer break so they will not get burned out on school.
This is a personal, individual choice but this choice does not mean learning can’t be a part of it.
Take a little time every day to engage the child in some form of learning such as reading out loud or doing a few math problems. The decision whether a child should be sent to summer school is a complicated issue and should be carefully thought out. It is always good to talk to the child’s teacher but a parent knows a child best and the decision is ultimately up to them.
Ultimately, the decision is up to the parents and the child (if they’re old enough to be involved). Consulting with your child’s teacher is also a good idea when it comes to making the choice to sending a child to summer school.