Although it has been HOT, today is officially the first day of Summer. I thought I ‘d share with you our summer learning plan. We live in Chicago and I love my city despite the negative attention that it receives on a regular. Each time you turn on the news there is something being reported. We are living in what seems to be a growing darkening city and state. Each day we have two small people that we are responsible for. We do our best to raise our children to be respectful, intelligent and kind individuals. Regardless of the negative reports there is beauty all around us and this summer will not be any different. I will find pleasure in our parks, the lakefront, beaches, museums, and most importantly my family.
The one thing that does continue to disappoints me to the core is the crumbling Chicago public school system. Our daughter attends one of the more privileged and top tiered public schools in our state according to test scores and public records. However, we found that even with those standards, it doesn’t measure up. We won’t be fooled by the reports or let the public school system fail our family. My daughter comes home with tons of homework and dozens of projects, only to retain enough information to pass to the next grade level. She brings home a report card filled with A’s and one B yet feels the need to want to learn more because she knows something is missing. It simple isn’t enough.
Every year, or what now seems like every week, there is a debate with the teachers union over contracts, the Mayor with funding, and now the Governor with budgets. Our city and state are at a standstill. They are fighting like children on a playground and the bigger bully always wins. I’ve been fed up for years. I’ve been on the PTA, I’ve volunteered at the school, I’ve spoken up at news conferences with the board officials, I’ve sided with the Principal; I’ve realized it is just a broken school system that no one can win; Not the teachers, not the parents, not the Principals, and certainly not the students.
Our Summer Learning Plan
This summer I decided to take more action than usual. I generally enroll her in a summer “fun” camp and find enrichment books in addition to the long summer packet that the school sends home. My daughter will be entering 7th grade in the fall. She has expressed a great deal of interest in science since she was 6 years old. This year I enrolled her is a summer enrichment program that will mainly focuses on health sciences. The 6 -week program will be M-F from 8-3 and she will take field trips once a week, they will also have recreational time during the day. Yes, the majority of her day will be spent learning and she will have a science project to complete for the final. She will do research and investigating in small group study. She is super excited.
On Saturdays she will take a 1.5 hour long 6-week math course that she selected at one of our local colleges, while her brother is enrolled in toddler swim. I have family field trips scattered in throughout the weekends to local history museums, farms, art festivals, water parks, zoos, etc. We use to do field trips (family days) before her brother was born and she loved them. So I am starting to incorporate those again. Family and friends are more than welcomed to tag along because when we go I like to talk history along the way. Trust me it is very fun.
What to Do While You Work
To some this may seem too rigorous of a summer learning plan for a child. However my child asked me several times if I (We) could home-school her. I am still trying to incorporate our full-time working schedules into her request. I think if your child is coming to you and asking to be home-schooled then the school system is failing them, bottom line. As working parents we have to find resources to fill the gap. My husband helps her with her Math. I have found an African American homeschooling website that I am currently reviewing to help her with history. My daughter is learning Japanese on her on. She and I are currently reviewing an online language tutoring service that should aid her with that.
We would rather continue to expose our developing children to fun learning activities taught outside of the public school system than to let her get lost in failing system. The public school system is no longer enough for our child. Kids tend to fall behind during the long summer months when their minds are not busy. We’ve grown to believe that children need a break during the summer.
Children never need a break from learning, they need a break from the routine of a system that isn’t teaching them correctly. They need a refreshing start to something tailored to their desires. Kids minds should be active. Whether it is drawing, building something, cooking with you, or learning a new skill set, they should be doing something instead of lying in front of the television. This summer I urge you to find summer learning activities that keep your child’s mind “happy” and striving.
What are youR Summer Learning plans for the summer?
If you are from Chicago check out Chicago City of Learning for free online and face to face activities for your kids.