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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Avoiding Summer Vacation Bordem. How to keep your high schoolers academically engaged over summer break.

I know you may be trembling at the thought of having your kids home supervised or unsupervised for the next eight to ten weeks.  Summer break is peaking over the horizon, it is a black cloud of impending doom.  (And you thought those were just thunderstorms.)   However, I promise,  there are ways to keep your high schoolers academically engaged without driving yourself crazy and without spending a lot of money. 

 When you hear the famous:" Mom, I'mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm bored"! whine, rather than pulling out a bottle of real wine, with a bit of planning ahead, there are several solutions.

1.  Many kids claim that they hate reading.  That simply means they haven't found what they like to read yet.  How about having a family book club where you choose a book and read it along with your kids.  It will give you lots of dinner table discussion topics and encourage them to keep reading.  You still eat together, right? Pick the latest popular Young Adult thriller, vampire romance, zombie apocalypse tale or whatever interests your teen.  Don't force them to read something that they will hate.  My son took on the Game of Thrones books last summer.  He said they were the hardest books that he has ever read, but he couldn't put them down.  My husband and son had a great time talking through the story lines.

2.  Run the closed captioning on your TV no matter how much they complain about it.  Your teens will subconsciously read the captions as they watch.  This increases reading speed and fluency with barely any extra effort.

3.  Make them get some kind of physical activity.  They can swim, run, attend sports camps, walk, etc.  Give them a goal.  Have them walk enough miles on the treadmill to get to Canada and back.  Pressing controllers on the XBox does not count as exercise.

4.  Ask them to help you with the family budget.  Kids need to be aware of what they are costing you, and ask them to help re do the budget to save enough for some kind of reward.

5.  Ask them to take over meal planning for one night a week or more.  This not only teaches them how to cook, but to actually research, read, and use a recipe.   Set a budget and send them shopping.  Make it a challenge.  Have them research a genre of cooking, then find a recipe, and have them tell you more about the culture the food comes from.

7.  Help them get organized for the next school year by going through the junk they bring home on the last day of school and organize it into files.  Then teach them an organizational system for keeping their work together.  I can't tell you how many times kids have forgotten to turn in assignments that they actually completed because the work was wadded up in their backpack and they couldn't find it when I called for it.

Do you have more ideas?  Feel free to comment.

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