Around this time of year, educators and parents across the country often talk about ways to prevent “Summer slide,” or the loss of academic progress over the summer months. High performing students, like those at Shorecrest and other private schools in St. Petersburg, FL, do not use the summer as a time to simply maintain skills. They use the summer months as a time for concentrated growth in their areas of passion. Whether a student is interested in robotics, coding, math, writing, a sport, an art, a service endeavor, or earning money, the 9-10 weeks of summer are a perfect time to develop those skills, passions or bank account.
For high-performing students, summer vacation is the time when they get to do what they want to do for multiple hours and still have time to engage in family activities (chores) and activities with friends. Parents/guardians can support their children by helping them plan summer schedules that will enhance their chances of reaching their academic and extra-curricular goals. The child who wants to make the volleyball team or to be a starter on the varsity team cannot expect to achieve that goal without doing some training and playing during the summer. The same goes for most activities.
Some children do not have the opportunity to travel and go off to camps during the summer. However, the goal-minded young person with the support of a parent/guardian could find a job, an internship, and community teams that will help them achieve their goals. Schools like Shorecrest open their fitness centers and provide staff to guide student-athletes in conditioning and training programs. In our St. Petersburg, FL community, a number of schools and organizations offer affordable local summer camps and summer programs. Community theatres and arts centers provide inspiration and training grounds for budding artists. Local non-profits are always looking for reliable young people who can support their programs as volunteers.
Yes, all should children learn how to enjoy free time. It’s important for them to enjoy silence, solitude, nature, and dinners with their families and time with their friends. I have nothing against relaxation. Yet, if all one does is maintain skills over the summer, I can assure you that the odds of making the team, earning the lead role, being named captain or obtaining other leadership roles diminishes.
Choosing to design the summer as a time to grow has paid off for generations of young people. In a perfect world, our children are so inspired to improve that they will seek out opportunities to help them reach their goals. If not, then parents/guardians can support their children by helping them build a schedule that includes self-improvement activities.
Hoping for the best only seems to work when we have first tried our hardest to achieve a goal. Competitors and observers of current college placement and youth activities know that there are young people out there working hard to earn the positions desired by many, many others. Making use of the summer is one way to ensure our children will make best use of the school year and the rest of their lives.