To Summer School or Not? by Dina Ramon
I’ve pretty much decided that my daughter will not attend summer school this year but wondered for weeks if I really made the right decision. I’ve gone back and forth on it, even though I initially wasn’t planning on it. It was a year of many successes for her but also involved overcoming the transitions and challenges of being in a new school and new environment. My thinking has been that after a year of hard work, standardized testing, and getting acclimated to new friends it would be nice for her to have a summer ‘break.’ But then I started to reconsider after talking to other parents and reading the points of view from experts who lament that one reason our education system doesn’t stack up with those of other nations is that the summer ‘break’ causes a break-down in the math and reading skills that our kids learn throughout the year. Who wants their kid(s) to regress or lose out on additional skills they could be gaining during the summer? That made me start to feel guilty and that maybe I was shortchanging my daughter by not enrolling her in something school-related. But I have to keep telling myself that this summer won’t be the norm; future summers will include some educational programs. It seems like more kids than ever are attending summer school; certainly many more than when I was in grade school. When I was growing up you’d hardly admit that you went to summer school; the image was not a positive one. Current data indicates that approximately 25% of US students attend some type of summer school program. That number should certainly be higher but regardless, I predict that by the time my daughter graduates high school if not before, the trend of a year-round school year will be commonplace. But until then, I can experiment with my own version of ‘semi’ home schooling since summer school is not in the picture for her this year. I am planning a couple of educational field trips including a visit to the home of one of our Nation’s Founding Fathers. So in addition to pool time and amusement park outings, I am committed to do my best to enrich her with new learning experiences that we can do together, and review some of this year’s lessons with her… but probably at a slower, more ‘summer’-like pace!