With the school year coming to a close, parents, teachers and children
alike have their minds on the summer. You can bet that not each of these
parties has exactly the same thoughts about summer. But now is a good time
to consider this one: how will your child maintain his academic skills
so that he will be prepared for the next school year?
Your first stop is a brief meeting with his teacher. The teacher will be
able to inform you if he has mastered all the skills necessary for his
grade level and what needs to be done to be ready for the next one.
This is a very busy time of year for teachers. By all means, make an appointment
for this meeting. You can expect that the teacher will be able to help
you out in this regard, but (s)he also needs time to be prepared to help
you and your child in the best way.
If the teacher can explain the skills that need to be maintained, take
that information to your nearest educational supplies store and ask the
clerks there to help you find materials to use for working on these skills.
In addition to academic skills, look for ways to broaden your child’s repertoire
of activities so that he can become more well-rounded. There may be areas
in which your child excells, such as art, music, gymnastics, or nature
study, but for which there is not sufficient time to explore or enhance
during the school year. The summer can be an ideal time to work on these
areas of interest.
Ask for specific activities that you will be able to do with your child,
keeping in mind that there is a variety of ways that certain skills can
be improved. If, for example, your child needs practice retelling the sequence
of events in stories that she reads, note that this skill can be practiced
equally with television shows and movies that you watch together, as well
as books read.
In next week’s column, I will give you several ideas for maintaining skills
during summertime activities.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s Advice for Parents.