This summer, scorching temperatures have turned Queens’ quasi-shaded sidewalks into large rectangular frying pans, and frequent, extended rains make many of us wonder not if there is climate change, but how fast it’s happening. It is often too hot to be outside, cook, or even think. In NYC, with its abundance of indoor camps for kids, problem solved. This is a summer in which urban living, and its not-my-childhood emphasis on air-conditioned indoor entertainment, makes sense.

Stay with us, Folks

It also turns out to be a summer that isn’t incompatible with your child doing a bit of summer break work. The break is long (for historical reasons–some known and some myth), and it’s when all educators see basic skills drop in their students. With just a few weeks left to our break, it’s a great time to take stock of how well your child has maintained their academic skills, which includes the simple act of sitting down for a calm, focused, short period of time. Specifically, we mean thinking about how much reading they’ve done, if they’ve touched their assigned math problems, and did they do any writing? Queens Paideia Learning Managers supply a full list of suggested activities for our students in June, but at a minimum, we’re interested in:

  • Reading, so as to engage students’ minds with written words, develop their vocabulary, improve their spelling, and expose them to different sentence structures that might influence their own writing. Reading good fiction also stimulates imagination, which is a key ingredient of creativity. But we don’t care what they are reading, as long as they are, in fact, reading.
  • Writing, because you only get better at it if you practice doing it. This, too, can be anything. Letters from camp, shopping lists, story writing, a travel journal…
  • Math, where it’s so easy to forget what you were working on because, unlike with English language, it’s not like there’s reinforcement for it all over the place on subways, billboards, captions, and social media. All of our students received customized work packets to keep them the slightest bit busy over the summer.

If you are concerned that your child has done none of these activities, or not enough of them, start now. Incorporate each one of these three biggies into a small part of your child’s day (e.g., 15 mins for math, 15 for writing; age x 2 for reading). Build it into your child’s daily routine, and get their buy-in by explaining that it’s part of getting ready for school, and that having such a routine is good at any age. So much good messaging to be had in this one.

It’s about your kids. But also about you.

There are many other ways to help your child make the transition back to school. Dr. Rebecca Mannis, advisor to QPS, gave a terrific live FB presentation on exactly this today. While you are considering her ideas, have you made any summer resolutions, pushed any reset buttons for yourself this summer? For parents, summer is prime time to get a grip on how you manage yourself and what you want to promote for your kids. Make resolutions that are just about yourself, too, because one of the best things you can model for your kids is how to live a rich, engaging life that is not only about them. 

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