Last Updated On: June 16th, 2022
1. What are some ways you incorporate academics into Arianna and Samantha’s summer schedule?
I believe in collaboration with my children in exploring their academic interests. Over the summer, we pick one academic area they would like to dive deeper into to prepare them for the next school year or a fun program related to an academic area of interest. We also encourage reading for at least 30 min/day.
2. Are there other out of the box activities you find to be educational or productive in the summer?
We love to travel, which is educational in itself and presents many educational “out of the box” opportunities along the way. In general, I try to find a new activity for us to do as a family over the summer. From learning a new language together or going fishing for the first time…the activity may not be directly educational, but it teaches them about life and a little more about themselves. Any activity or experience that brings joy or creativity to the kids over the summer, I consider to be productive. They work very hard and are responsible, diligent students that remain on a busy schedule during the school year. I feel summer should be a time to rest, reflect, and gain inspiration for the year ahead.
3. Are there any online programs you’ve utilized? Camps you’d recommend? Do you prefer educational books (spectrum etc) or reading books during the summer? Tutors?
We have tried a variety of activities over the summer, and I think what works best is truly unique to the child and their goals/interests at the time. With Covid, we migrated many activities online. I found ID Tech and AI Inspirit to be great online programs for kids interested in coding, tech, and AI. You can schedule the classes or private sessions according to your schedule and match with an available teacher. The NY Times Summer Academy provides some very interesting online and in person classes for teens. Local art colleges or art schools also have some fun, creative options. Now programs offer hybrid options for both online or in person options. This is great if you are planning to travel over the summer. You can take your academics on the road with one of these programs, an online tutor, online camp, or program. LA Tutors is a great resource for us, and has a wide range of talented and bright tutors.
4. Do you think it’s important for children to have a balance between summer academics and extracurricular activities?
Yes, I always encourage kids to try a new extra curricular that they’ve never done during the summer and have fun with it. There is never a shortage of academic related summer options so I focus more on finding interesting extracurricular opportunities, as well as camps or programs to keep them moving physically.
5. What academic activities have you found to be the most successful for your children? Does one prefer something over the other?
Tutoring has been successful for both of my daughters and has helped them to grow in their academic confidence and enhanced their academic strengths. By working 1-1 with someone in a comfortable setting they have been able to dive deeper into subjects of interest and work through areas of challenge without hesitation. LA Tutors has proven to be a valuable resource that does not only offer a wide range of qualified and patient tutors, but they work closely with you to monitor your child’s progress and goals. They also take the time to find the right match for your child and make adjustments. One of my daughters thrives off of enrolling in short term academic programs that are fun and focus on one subject. Finding programs to inspire creativity and problem solving gives her clarity on her own life path. My other daughter loves to read. Her love for reading has proved beneficial in many ways. LA Tutors test prep has also been successful for her.
6. What are the main benefits you see from summer productivity?
Summer productivity results in an increase in confidence, inspiration, and allows time to create new habits and learn new life skills.
7. Have you tried to be more proactive in the summer as a result of covid online schooling?
During the last two summers, yes. Especially in certain subject areas that may have not transferred over as well via online schooling. The first year, year and a half of Covid was a trial and error of online learning. We’ve grown and adjusted as a society since then. This is the first summer that I feel we are able to move forward instead of catching up on areas typically that would have been covered in person during the school year. I am very happy that my daughters are able to be back to in- person learning, and I am also very grateful for their teachers and schools, who have tried their very best to navigate this pandemic and maintain a sense of “normalcy”. I think they have done an excellent job, but the reality is the educational system was affected and it falls on parents finding outside resources to fill in the gaps.
8. Do you typically schedule time for their academics daily? If so, what time of day? How long?
I feel very lucky that my children are self-starters. They are their toughest critics and always want to do well so they work hard without much push. They usually come home from school, have a snack, and then start their homework or an academic session of some sort. My youngest is in 4th grade and finishes most of her homework in school so she does reading at home before dinner or has a tutoring session or online class in a subject she is interested in a few times a week. Typically, this ranges from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours. My eldest is now in high school so she does stay up later finishing homework, and usually starts her homework after dinner due to extra curricular activities. Her homework and depending on tests/projects can take 2-4 hours. Creating routines at an early age that incorporate academics effortlessly is key to self-discipline as they grow.
9. I know you love traveling with your family. For parents that have kids on the go, have you found a particular schedule that works well during those times? What seems to be the most effective academic activity while you’re traveling?
My children have been traveling since they were very young so we are used to adjusting to time zones, and pre-planning their academic schedule on the go. LA Tutors (or utilizing private tutors as a resource) has truly allowed us to remain committed to their academic growth on the go. Online tutors or teachers are the most effective academic activity we have found while traveling in terms of providing consistency and quality. If utilizing private tutors is not an option, I create a schedule for reading, writing, and math. There are books you can purchase online, such as Spectrum books, or join a free online teaching resource, such as Khan Academy. With Covid, the variety of online classes offered is perfect for keeping your kids engaged while on the go. There are also apps we utilize to practice vocabulary. We have also enrolled the children in programs and worked with teachers in the places we travel to. The key is keep some form of academics consistent throughout the year, and to make it fun or easy to learn on the go.
10. Do you notice a difference in your children when they’re busy over the summer versus when they’re in relaxation mode? Do they have a happier demeanor? More energy? Better off at the start of the school year?
It is about finding and fighting to keep a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. I do notice my children are happier when they are in relaxation mode. A part of this is natural, but it is also so desperately needed as we live in a society that has manufactured high levels of competition and achievement at unrealistic parameters that makes it hard for anyone to keep up without feeling some sort of anxiety and stress. Summer should be a time to relax more and reset so you can feel fresh before the next school year starts. As children enter their teen years, this becomes harder to do with college prep. Acknowledging the importance of health, especially mental health, is something we discuss openly.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio