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ASK ANDREA: How do we keep students learning over the summer?

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Hello Casa de Campo Living readers! Welcome to our new series of posts ‘Ask Andrea’ – in which our latest contributor Andrea Glovsky, an educational consultant, answers questions related to the education of adolescents. As it is currently the summer holidays and children are out of formal education, here Andrea answers the very important question ‘How do we keep students learning over the summer?’ 

(You can read Andrea’s Bio at the bottom of the article.)

The question: How do we keep students learning over the summer?

Summer connotes vacation to adolescents, yet it is a very important time to continue learning and preparing. There has been considerable research documenting the loss of learning over the summer. The August 2, 2010 Time Magazine cover story was devoted to the topic. For high school students, there is far greater need for learning and preparing over the summer.

Because the academic load is considerably heavier in high school, much can be done to ease the work-load and stress of the school year. Students who hope to go to college need to build vocabulary and practice for the SAT. All indications point to the fact that success on the SAT or ACT tests can be tied to practice. I know one successful tutor who believes you need to take eight full practice tests to experience all the different types of questions. The more practice the more success.

Several easy things to do:

  • Take practice tests for SAT or ACT exams. It is great general review for school. Schedule regular timed sessions 4 or 5 times a week.
  • Expand vocabulary, a key to test success, with flash cards. Do it as a family exercise. Everyone can use a vocabulary boost.
  • Go to www.collegeboard.com and do the “word a day” and “question a day” exercises.
  • For math, review formulas used by the exam and make sure you understand them.

All this is easy to tell a student to do, but the bigger issue is motivation. You cannot directly motivate a student; it is something intrinsic. It needs to come from within the individual. You can do activities that excite them and demonstrate to them the need to work hard. Set education as the number one priority. A college campus visit, including listening to an information session, sets expectations for a student. Students are often surprised at the requirements that colleges expect. The experience is positive and demonstrates what it takes to make admissions happen. The light bulb goes on and the connections are usually made. If you cannot get to a campus, there are colleges that do online tours, DVDs, blogs, and websites that can provide some of the same information.

Secondly, since it is still important for parents to remain in charge, NEGOTIATE. Require a 4 or 5 hour a week commitment to reviewing and reading. Some schools even assign work. The last two days of the summer is not a good time for that work. Tie the successful completion of this work to privileges or opportunities.

Many adolescents are night owls. They tend to sleep away the summer mornings. That is normal. Suggest your student work on their practice summer work “before” lunch to get it out of the way. The later in the day they wait the less likely they are to do it. Rising seniors can actually begin college applications over the summer and ease the fall stress. After August1st, login on and register to do the Common Application – www.commonapp.org.

Being in rhythm with academics, when students return to school after vacation, can have a strong affect on both the first term and with confidence. Adjusting to new teachers and new subjects is stressful enough. Starting behind is worse.

References:

The Official SAT Study Guide, 2nd edition Ten real SAT practice tests by The College Board –

The Official Study Guide for All SAT Subject… by The College Board

The Real ACT Prep Guide: 3 Real ACT Tests by ACTOrg

Sullivan Cards: SullivanCards feature Sullivan’s Tutoring methodology. The three-deck set of SullivanCards presents SAT math, English and vocabulary instruction. Can be purchased at http://www.sullivantutoring.com/onlinestore.html

www.unigo.com; great place to learn real information about colleges.

THE U: UNCUT – College Tour DVD Box Set The WB Stars (Actor), Doug Imbruce (Director) | Format: DVD Visit colleges on DVD.

July 2010© All rights reserved by author

ASK ANDREA

andrea golvsky

Andrea Glovsky of AMG Educational Consultants is a nationally known speaker on college and prep school placement, adolescents, and educational issues. She counsels families both in the US and internationally on applying to colleges and independent schools. She also conducts seminars on topics such as adolescent motivation, homework, and the financial aid process. An educator for over 35 years, she taught in both public and private schools. Feel free to email questions to Ask Andrea at [email protected]  and please visit: www.findingcolleges.com.


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