Parents often ask Mindprint about summer activities and how to prepare for a successful school year. We know they receive conflicting advice ranging from “do everything you can to prevent the summer slide to “let your kids relax and be kids.”

How to prepare for a successful school year

The recommended amount of structured learning depends on the age and specific learning needs of a child. For children who fell behind during the school year or struggled to keep the pace, structured summer learning can be an effective way to make the coming school year a lot easier. For teens, summer prep can alleviate some of the heavy burden during the school year associated with challenging classes, standardized tests and extra-curriculars. But it’s true that kids of all ages need time to relax, replenish, explore new interests. We turned to the team at Varsity Tutors for their best advice for summer and how to prepare for a successful school year. Here’s what they had to say.

The following guest post was written by Brittany Phillips. Brittany is a content writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that provides students with personalized instruction.

School may be coming to a close as summer draws near, but that doesn’t mean the learning experiences have to stop. Much of what was learned during the year can be forgotten during the summer months if students are not mentally engaged. It’s incredibly important to continue to activate your student’s mind. Moreover, summer is a great time for real-world experiences that can help your student succeed in and out of the classroom.

Here’s how to prepare for a successful school year before it even starts!

Take a trip

Consider taking a family trip that can turn into an educational experience. Perhaps you explore a historical landmark, a geological treasure, or even our nation’s capital. Your student will be learning without even realizing it. While you’re debating where to take your trip, be mindful of colleges in the area. College visits are a great way to see the campus experience, while jumpstarting your student into thinking about the future.

Further a hobby

Summer is a great time to pursue an interest, when students aren’t tied down with classes, homework, and other responsibilities. As they graduate high school and enter college or the real world, colleges and employers are looking for entrants who have hobbies and passion. Whether it’s photography, painting, yoga, or any other activity, you can help your student foster his or her hobbies by finding relevant local activities for him or her to participate in.

Find a cause to volunteer for

Maybe your student isn’t interested in a part-time job during the summer, but still wants to do something meaningful. Volunteering is not only a great way to help out a good cause, but it’s also a way to find new interests, refine your skills, and meet new people. Whether it’s a daily, weekly, or even monthly volunteer project, your student is guaranteed to grow from the experience.

Join a sports team

Being part of a sports team or participating in a summer sport can give your student’s summer a little bit of structure and help him or her cultivate personal skills. Joining a team can help develop strong communication and teamwork, while participating in a sport can help your student learn dedication and grit. These skills can help your student in the classroom and in his or her future.

Enroll in a summer class

Before your student dismisses the idea of taking a class during summer break, consider the options and opportunities. Many educators will tell you that it’s never too early to begin practicing for the SAT and ACT, so how about taking a class on one of the subjects that appears on those tests? For instance, your student may be weaker in math and wish to brush up on that over the summer in preparation for the math section of either of those exams. If your student wants to keep his or her mind active in other areas, local colleges often offer a variety of summer classes as well, which allow students to choose the types of subjects they simply enjoy and want to know more about.

Find a part-time job

Aside from the money your student will be earning with a part-time job, there are also invaluable skills that come from working, no matter the position. Teenagers can learn responsibility, organization, and countless interpersonal skills while working. These skills can convert directly into the classroom, like when they are tasked with working on a group project or presenting to an audience.

Whatever activities your teenager chooses to do throughout the summer, it is important that he or she is staying active and busy. Whether it’s preparing for entrance exams, working a summer job or internship, or getting some real world experience, your student should be pursuing passions. Ultimately, he or she will be in great shape to start the next school year off on the right foot!

Learn more about the summer slide and additional recommendations for summer learning in our articles collection on Mindprint Learning

Other articles on how to prepare for a successful school year.

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