Summer homework, tutor and follow-up

The school year is ending and you don't want your kid to forget their good work ethic, or maybe, you want them to develop a better one for next year! Should your child spend their summer with pens, papers and piles of books? Sylvie Desmarais gives you advice.

Every spring brings the stage reports, preparation for final exams, field trips and the hope of wonderful family vacations. Yet, this hope can be dampened by bad academic results that jeopardize the school year of a child.

Time of flowers, time of questioning

For some parents, spring rhymes with questioning. Indeed, your child may be one of many who had a hard time following the program throughout the year or, maybe someone just announced that they might have to repeat a year at school and let their friends go.

As you are looking for solutions, you have meetings with the school staff, discussions with family members, friends and coworkers, search the web, worry and most probably have sleepless nights. Opinions and suggested solutions are many and resources are there. But how can you make a decision between a summer camp of golf, computers, scrapbooking, free time or time shared with grandparents and a structured program to recuperate what Junior did not learn in school between September and June?

My childhood memories are filled with games, swimming, reading novels, but above all, putting away all my school materials to make sure that the year was truly over and that many beautiful weeks had to come before buying everything again for the next year (that still came too quickly!). Are today’s children so much different that they don’t need these precious moments? I don’t think so.

Children with special needs

Without suggesting a specific guide of summer action, or to curb your benevolent impulse, I freely express my point of view on summer classes. I have always worked in summer classes and by doing so; I realized that it was good for some students while others would have needed a break.

In my practice, I work with kids with very specific needs, either because they have difficulty with their spoken language or with their written language. But in any case, their academic progress is different and more laborious than others.

Sound the alarm

If I ask parents about the motivations that guide their request for a summer follow-up, I find out that their main desire is to help their child learn in eight weeks what he could not during the whole year. It is believed by many that by doing so, the year will be saved and Junior will graduate to his next school year. I am not against good intentions and in that sense, I accept to give a hand to some of them. In order to consolidate the concepts, I believe that a child who likes his tutor can find some satisfaction and even have a good time. However, we must keep in mind that all learning, whether it is with motor, intellectual or sportive skills, is based on basic abilities on which other abilities rest until the knowledge is consolidated. For some kids, learning is not as easy, every step takes more time and the summer will not be long enough to catch up. If the expectations are realistic, the work done during the holiday can make your child progress but he will only be one step further in his progress, gain a little time but not the long-awaited rescue.

Case by case depending on the age

The young boy who passes from kindergarten to the first grade may have delayed the acquisition of some sounds, or who do not master the prerequisites to go from oral code to written code. Some schools track these children in spring and recommend a summer follow-up that can take place during the 3 or 4 months preceding the learning of writing. For many of these children, the help of a speech therapist is precious and facilitates the arrival in the world of writing.

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