For remediating learning gaps
Your child may have straight A's in English but struggle to achieve a B in Math. While one or two B's won't be a deal breaker at some schools, it won't help if your child is applying to very competitive schools. What to do? As soon as you discover that she has a problem with a core subject like mathematics or reading, do something about it. Tailor the solution to the situation. If a little extra help at her present school is all that is necessary, then go that route. If more drastic measures are required, then hire a tutor. We did that one summer, and it made all the difference in our daughter's comfort level with mathematics.
Children learn in different ways. So, be sure to observe how your child is being taught. That will guide you on what solution to seek. It's very important not to make your child feel like she is being punished or that she is a failure. Instead, you need to explain that core subjects are taught over many years. She needs to understand each level thoroughly before she advances to the next. Core subjects are the foundation on which all her subsequent education is built. She needs a solid foundation in the fundamentals.
Taking enrichment courses
What's an enrichment course? Subjects such as keyboarding, computer programming, art courses, music workshops and so on. Basically anything which is not a core subject. Some enrichment courses are a virtual necessity these days. For example, being able to type at 50-60 words per minute or learning how to use Microsoft Excel. Teach your child those skills
as early as you can. He will need those skills in college and in his career after college.
If he shows a gift for writing, find a summer course for young writers. He will be exposed to new ideas, learn important skills and, even more important, meet other young people who have similar interests. Yes, networking starts at a young age these days.
Travel covers everything from an expensive odyssey to a foreign country to a day trip to a regional landmark or place of interest. The idea is to widen your child's horizons by taking him places and letting experience the topography and demographics on his own. For example, spend a day in your state capital. Let him use one of the many apps for his iPhone
or iPad to explain the history and significance of what he is seeing. Tip: you need to facilitate these kinds of trips. Don't be the lecturer. Let the app do the teaching.
If you are an outdoors person, take your child hiking or camping. He keeps hearing dire reports of how we need to take better care of the environment. Experiencing nature in the wild will put all that in context so much more effectively than visiting Disney World.
If you can manage it, foreign travel will teach your child valuable lessons. Coping with different cultures and customs will ease him into his role as a global citizen rather than becoming a zenophobe in Sioux Falls.
I have saved the best for last. Reading. Reading widely. Reading in several languages. You need to cram her Kindle or iPad or Nook full of as many titles as she can stand. And you need to read too. Be an exemplar for your child. My late wife always could be found curled up in a comfortable chair reading. She read voraciously. Her daughters copied her and became
avid readers. Reading is tough to teach these days with so many distractions such as games and social media competing for children's attention. But persist.
An old priest friend of mine once said that we all need recreation. He split the word into two sections with the emphasis on 'creation.' That's what summers are for. Recreation. Make the most of your child's summer.