Friday April 7 2017
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Summer School

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Change is in the air. The trees and lawns are getting greener. The temps are getting warmer, and pretty soon our kids will be free for the summertime. For many parents and their children, the long break from formal classroom education begins, and it is shifted to athletics.

Summer camps for all kinds of different sports. Overnight, day, and partial day offerings.

Travel team competition that has players going far and wide, competing in different towns, even different states.

In between tournaments, our children are taking part in practices: soccer, baseball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, tennis, golf... maybe even two-a-day workouts for football.

I know why we parents put ink on paper, signing up our kids and writing out often-hefty checks to allow them to take part in these sports. We want them to have fun and to have the best opportunities. Perhaps we want to give them things that we were not offered as children, either because these sports-specific training opportunities did not exist, or perhaps we couldn't afford the steep prices associated with them.

Either way, here is a word of caution, offered by the classroom "coaches" our kids see nine to ten months a year, our kids' teachers: don't let the summertime steal the time away from our girls and boys when it comes to hitting the books. While we need to thoroughly enjoy the time away from school, let's also encourage our kids to budget some of their time to preparing for the fall semester.

The summertime is a great time to start the transition into the next school year. Chart a plan with your kids. Create goals for summertime learning. Help them create deadlines for finishing their required reading, and together, choose at least one non-required book for them to conquer before the leaves turn and they head back to school. Perhaps you can read the same book, or compete with them to read a number of books.

Also, talk with their teachers and establish a plan for summertime vocabulary words to learn, or ask them for math workbooks to keep their minds working on summer rainy days, or to take along on vacations.

Take a summer course. An SAT prep class.

Bottom line: keep then engaged academically. Something to let our kids know we value continuing education. Even over the summer.

As we keep our kids moving and motivated on the field and on the court, let's also keep the whistle handy to help them develop good study skills. Just as our kids' coaches want them to play their individual sports year-round, let's teach them the benefits of 12 months a year academics.