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Teens in Summer School: The Challenge

by Jane Wangersky | August 14th, 2015 | School, Teens

teen boy (400x400)Summer school doesn’t exactly mean school in summer — fortunately. High school students need a break from their nearly year-round routine, and even if they have academic goals for summer break, the ground rules are different. Here are a few things our family’s learned from taking part in summer classes, both in school and online.

Not everything is free in summer. Even in free classes given by the school district, you may have to pay a book deposit. Of course, if your teen is responsible, you get the money back, but it’s something to be aware of.

Distractions hit harder in summer. When we sat down with my son’s new teacher to talk about the online class he’s taking this summer, one of her first questions to him was what his biggest distractions might be. Social media was an example, but even the warm air of the outside can do it. (She also gave him a quiz on plagiarism, mandatory for students in this program — it might be a good time to review that with your teen also.)

Teens need to set their own goals and enforce them. Summer classes seldom take up as much time as school-year classes. To your teen, more free time may feel like infinite free time. They need to realize it’s not that way and set times to work and goals to reach. However . . .

Students in online courses need a backup plan for when technology stalls. They need a new password or an appointment to take a test and haven’t heard back from anyone about it. Instead of sitting by the computer waiting, they should find something else useful (or just fun) to do, to avoid feeling like they’ve wasted hours at the end of the day.

Yes, they can work and take summer classes at the same time. Just don’t let them go overboard with either, be realistic about how much sleep they need, and maybe encourage them to cut back on some of their other activities.

Take a break between summer classes and the beginning of regular school. Maybe the whole family can get away together, maybe not — but a couple of schoolwork-free weeks will do your teen some good.

Learn while your teen learns. This is your chance to see what slightly different ways of learning may work for your teen, or not — and if they should be used year-round.

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