I have been back in the classroom for about three months now and I am really enjoying myself. I am inspired and hopefully I am inspiring the young minds of my students as well. Within the last few months I realize why many children are having to attend summer school and why it’s so unfortunate. I truly believe that at this young of an age, being behind and needing summer school is not the child’s fault. The responsibility weighs much more on the parent. I have discovered five reasons why children are having to go to summer school and what we can do about it as parents. The below may seem like common sense but trust me, many of these children wouldn’t be in summer school had they done the following:
Attendance and Lateness
Many children arrive late to school on a daily basis. I don’t place the blame on the children because it’s not their fault. It’s the responsibility of the parents to set an alarm and wake up daily to send their child to school on time. The worst is when a child arrives to school about an hour and a half late and they haven’t eaten breakfast. How are they supposed to function the rest of the day before lunch? It breaks my heart and deeply saddens me that parents aren’t making school a priority and aren’t setting the tone at a very young age. Of course things happen, but when a child has to attend summer school due to excessive absences or lateness, it is pure humiliation! Start from the very beginning modeling to your child the importance of arriving to places on time. What’s even sadder is when they arrive to summer school late – here is a perfect opportunity to get it right and you are still arriving late? Something has to give! Have your child in the classroom 5-10 minutes before it begins if you can. If they are running late, make the school aware and have them eat before they get dropped off.
Homework is a reinforcement of the day’s work. It shouldn’t be busy work or even hard work that children can’t do. Homework should be doable alone with little assistance. When children return to school and tell me, “I didn’t have time to do homework because I went to baseball practice,” I get highly upset. Parents aren’t showing children what should be the first priority. They are too busy wanting their child to be the next baseball pro instead of having them complete their homework. I once saw a parent who was also a teacher, yes I said it, a teacher, write that their child was rushing around, doing their project the day before it was due. I thought that was terrible! The parent doesn’t make it a priority and therefore the child follows suit! If your child is old enough to do homework, look over it or ask, “did you get homework today? Can I see it?” You want them to review what they did in class. It only makes them stronger with that skill.
Classwork and Academics
It’s important for children to do work independently as well as within a group. There are many times that you can see when a parent is over-helping a child or even does the child’s homework for them because the student is unable to produce the same answers in class. They are only impacting the growth of the child. Every day when you drop your child off or before they leave your home, remind them to impress their teacher with their very best work. This is a great observation for your child’s teacher and it helps us to really assess your child.
You have heard me say that learning doesn’t have to stop during the summertime and that includes reading. Throughout the school year, the children are constantly being assessed to make sure they are reading fluently and comprehending what they read. Reading and letter recognition go hand-in-hand so parents need to stay vigilant about those alphabets. It’s one thing to recite them but do they know the letter sounds? That letters make sounds? That those sounds blend together to make words? Have your child read daily to you and you read with them. Ask them questions about the story and have them create a written response. In the summer have them create a journal because reading and writing go hand-in-hand. It’s important so when they go back to school they don’t suffer from reading level loss.
Meeting the standards- those Common Core Standards
Right from the very beginning of the school year, speak with your child’s teacher. You want to know the expectations and the goals for the year and beyond. You don’t want your child to be average but to be where he needs to be or even beyond. Having them meet the standards means that they won’t have to attend summer school and this allows for a better summer for them.
The other day, I walked into my home and my oldest child said, “How was your day, mama?” I replied, “shitty!” (I like to keep it real with my children). He asked why and I said, “because summer school can be frustrating for many children and I feel it may also leave a negative taste in their mouth about school.” The truth is, I try to make it as fun as possible but it’s not like that for everyone. If summer school can be prevented, I would recommend it. Children need time to be kids and they need a break. They also need to understand that they need to apply themselves throughout the year so they don’t have to cram it all into one month.
Care to share: Has your child ever attended summer school? What are your thoughts?