The school year is ending here in west Georgia. Today is the last day for many schools in this area, and some will let out next week. While many parents see summer break as a time to get away from academics, for the struggling student, it is an opportunity to catch up. Just a few hours of one-on-one tutoring can make a tremendous difference when school resumes. For others, it means they remain sharp and continue to advance their skills. Two years ago, as we were getting ready for a new school year, I commented to my student J. that she was working more quickly with fewer mistakes. I loved her response, “I used to think math was a monster, now I think it’s easy.”
If given the preference of working with a child during the school year or summer break, I choose summer. After tutoring for eight years, I see the most significant progress in those students I work with June- July. There are a couple of reasons for this. During the school year, the focus is on completing school assignments and test preparation; in contrast, the focus is on strengthening a child’s weak areas during summer tutoring. Another factor which I believe plays a very important role is peer pressure or lack of it during summer. While I believe in healthy competition, when a child gets so far behind, he begins to think he is dumb when he hears classmates talk about how easy that test was or bragging on getting A’s. The struggling student begins to view school as an insurmountable obstacle. When a child gets help in the summer, the work is tailored to his needs; his only competitor is himself; and as he practices, he becomes more aware of his improvement. I also add a few more games in summer to make the work more palatable.
Do you have to hire a tutor? Absolutely not! Children are eager to learn, and summer is a great opportunity to sneak in some teaching without a child realizing it. I’ll continue to post about opportunities I discover, and be sure to check past posts in Learning Opportunities. A great idea my friend had was to give her children three review math problems which they had to complete before beginning their fun activities each day. Local libraries have great summer reading programs. Read my post from summer 2015 at iheartpublix for ideas to combine grocery shopping with math practice.
But if you know your child needs the support and consistency private tutoring offers, then I believe the investment is well worth it. Several years ago, I worked with a weak reader who was preparing for fifth grade. Although I only worked with him during the summer, his reading drastically improved.He is now in high school and making honor roll. If you want to hire a tutor, a good place to start is by asking your child’s teacher. Post a request on facebook and other social media. And of course, if you’re in the west Georgia area, I would love to work with your child. You can find my contact information in the About Category. Have a great summer!
I and other readers would love to hear your suggestions for continuing the learning process during school breaks in the comments.