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Time To Plan For Summer!

What is the best way for a child to spend the summer? Camp, work, projects, summer school?

Are you being inundated with advertisements for summer activities for your children?  Should you send your child to a summer camp, to summer school, or to their grandparents' house?  With so many options, it's hard to decide what to do!

The American school calendar was originally designed to accommodate our agricultural society back in the 1700's.  At that time, many families's survival depended on the summer harvest.  So, the schools would close for three months to allow children the time to help the family with the crops and livestock. In the 21st century, however, 12 weeks off from school is no longer necessary and often inconvenient for working parents who have to find ways to occupy their children during the summer.  Even family vacations typically last only one to two weeks.

Taking 3 months off during the summer does not help children to better academic performance or increase retention of material.  While taking a break and relaxing after 180 days of school is rejuvenating, any more than 4 weeks begins to have a negative effect on academic retention.  According to, children lose ground in math and reading, which unfortunately means that when they return to school in the fall, the teacher spends the first 4-6 weeks re-teaching material.  Students also fall out of sync with other aspects of learning such as time management and studying.  Most students admit that they get bored during the summer if they don't have plans to participate in programs or work.

Students who spend their summers doing constructive activities start school in the fall ready to learn.  The summer is the ideal time to build academic skills that the students don't have time to work on during their busy school year.  Students can always benefit from polishing up their essay writing, reading comprehension, and math skills. These skills get rusty when left untouched over the summer.  The best way to ensure that your child really improves in his/her weak areas is to set up one-on-one tutoring.  Merit designs tailored programs incorporating all of your child's weak areas. Our tutors work with your children at your home with a schedule that meets your family's needs.

If your children's schools don't require that your children read over the summer break, you should.  You will need to set due dates for each book so that you don't find out that they haven't started reading until the week before school starts. Merit can help you select a few classics and set up a realistic reading program. If your child has problems with reading comprehension or fluency, talk to your child's English teacher to see what will be on the reading list for next year.  This will give your child the opportunity to read the books ahead of time.

The summer break is the ideal time for students to start a project.  Without having so much homework, afterschool sports, or a busy social calendar, students can brainstorm and start their projects.  Many students get their entrepreneurial gears moving and start summer businesses.  Others start organizations to promote something they feel passionate about.  By getting their projects started during the summer, they can keep them going during the school year without stress. Merit College Advisors guide students through the entire process.

Spending the summer attending specialty camps also expands students' minds and introduces them to new possibilities.  If your child is interested in computers, he/she will enjoy exploring new terrain with other like-minded kids.  High school students can begin touring college campuses to start narrowing down their options.  Students can also do professional internships to explore career possibilities.  You don't need to spend thousands of dollars on these programs to impress college admissions officers.  Merit can set up all of these programs for you to ensure a good balance for your child.

When you design the perfect summer program for your child, make sure that you allow some down time-time to just hang out at the beach or sleep in.  Even though summer vacations weren't originally designed for modern families, you can make the summer a productive and healthy time for your children.



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