Are you looking for ways to entertain your high school students this summer? Summer enrichment programs are a great way for high school students to improve both their social skills and gain an academic advantage for the upcoming school year. Summer is a great time to relax, but the free time could also be directed towards making academic gains. Summer learning loss is real—students, on average, lose about two months of learning after summer vacation. To keep students sharp in the summer, consider a summer enrichment program.
Summer enrichment programs are beneficial for all ages of students, but in this article, I will outline how it will specifically help high school aged students.
1) Summer Enrichment Programs Prevent Summer Brain Drain
Summer brain drain is more than just a catchy name—it’s an actual problem that plagues students during the summer months. When they take a break from schooling, they lose skills in academic areas, such as math and English. According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of math skills every summer and another two months in reading. It also takes teachers about three weeks to re-teach lessons from the previous year because of the skills that students lost. Not only do students forget important concepts during the summer, they also spend precious time reviewing old concepts in the first month of the new school.
Summer enrichment programs are available to help eliminate learning loss. According to RAND Coporation, summer programs can have positive effects on student achievement. The study highlighted that these programs must include small class sizes, individualized instruction, and parental involvement. It must also be paired with consistent academic focus during the school year to be effective. These programs will prevent backsliding during the off-months while also going above and beyond the school’s curriculum.
High schoolers are at formative years in their academic careers. High-stakes testing begins (like the PSAT) soon after they enter the new school year. In order to keep them sharp and ready to tackle new academic challenges, keep them learning over the summer with enrichment programs.
2) Summer Enrichment Programs Develop Academic Skills
Summer enrichment programs can prepare high school students for the new academic school year. They can attend a program that will directly relate to a class on their next year’s school schedule. For example, if a high school student is going to take Algebra II next year, then he or she can take an Algebra II course in the summer. This will give a student an academic advantage in high school because he or she will already have a good understanding of the material.
Now, I don’t think a summer enrichment program can replace a whole year’s worth of subject entirely, but it will give a high school student a head start on the subject material. While his or her peers are learning concepts for the first time, the high school student who attends a summer program will be reviewing and solidifying this concept. This is especially helpful in difficult math subjects, like Geometry, and high school English courses that are focused heavily on writing.
3) Summer Enrichment Programs Develop Social Skills
Let’s face it—when a high school student is home alone all afternoon, he or she is not getting the social interaction needed to feel good. Summer enrichment programs are a great way to encourage a high school student to interact with his or her peers for a few hours a week.
Summer enrichment programs also get high schoolers talking about something academic. In the summer months, high schoolers often get caught up in gossip or the latest TV shows or movies, but if they attend an enrichment program together, they will instead have to communicate to problem-solve and discuss ideas. This gets their brains moving and teaches them valuable collaborative skills that are imperative in the work force.
Summer enrichment programs are a beneficial option for high school students. They require students to stay focused on academics to prevent backslide from those inactive summer months. They also will start communicating with other like-minded high school students and collaborate with them on academic projects and activities.
What do you do during the summer to keep your high school student motivated? Let us know in the comments!
Becky Adams, Curriculum Manager, A Grade Ahead