Providing learning opportunities and academic enrichment during the summer months assists students to maintain progress attained over the course of the school year. There are several museums, centers, and observatories within the greater Los Angeles area, but learning at home is also invaluable. Here are some ideas for South Bay families, close to home!
Before Summer Begins:
- Talk with the student’s teacher and inquire if it is possible to get workbooks or websites to continue to improve on respective focus areas. Sit with your child and create attainable achievement goals, and if possible, cover these with your child’s teacher. Next year’s teacher may even have assignments to start over the summer months, especially in middle and high school.
- Review the student’s report card and classroom assessments to find “strands” in subject areas that may need additional attention. Strands are the divisible areas in a specific discipline or subject area that are tested through multiple grades (i.e. word analysis in English/language arts). The patterns may indicate a student’s continuing developmental need.
- Meet with other parents within the student’s grade level and plan mentoring activities. Students are skilled in various areas and are experts at instructing one another; too, this provides a natural platform for social development. Capitalize on another child’s strength and encourage students to “teach” one another.
- Get students outdoors. The mountains, beaches, and gardens are excellent, real-life sources of inspiration for history, science, mathematics, and language arts. Determine the height of a tree, velocity of a wave’s swell, or the distance to plant various seeds. Encourage students to keep a daily journal about learning or experiences.
- Enroll students in camps. Not only will the student learn some self-sufficiency skills, but will also be able to practice interpersonal communication, group dynamics, and team building. Several independent organizations run athletic, nature, beach, or learning camps within the greater South Bay. This will also provide structure to the often aimless summer days.
- Plan a family game night. As silly as this sounds, some good competition, bantering, and nay-saying never hurt anyone! Play traditional games like Monopoly to encourage the capitalist spirit, Clue to create calculated hypotheses, and Taboo to explore fictitious word choice. Remember that most games even require basic arithmetic to keep score.
- Visit a teacher store. A parent can find resources beyond imagination that are grade-level and skill appropriate for any child. Many of these activities will actually tie directly into material covered in the classroom for remediation or acceleration depending on your child’s need.
- Remember the public library. Book reports and outside reading are not reserved for the months between September and June. Start a family or neighborhood book club and design group discussions, quick writes, projects, or written assignments to practice for the next school year.
Too, there are many organizations that provide special instruction in Redondo Beach (or nearby) for students who already have a passion for arts, fitness, acting, or just talking. Summer is a great time to support local businesses, like Adventure Plex, that support the development of the city’s youth. The important part of summer learning is to have fun and practice honing in skills. Students and families deserve time together, but remember that learning can be enjoyable and rejuvenating. Be creative!