The quality of the education that American children receive has long been the topic of discussion both in political and personal arenas in Columbus and the United States. Most times high school students are oblivious to the debate over how to either improve or completely revamp the way their schools are run in an effort to enable them to “compete in a global economy,” with summer break being one of the first places to start. With a little guidance, parents can help their children use the lazy hazy days of summer break to work on securing their place in society and possibly summer vacation’s own precarious future.
Critics believe that more classroom hours is better when it comes to resolving the issue of solving deficiencies in high school test scores and graduation rates for the students educated in the United States. It seems logical that increasing classroom time would be the solution to improving high school achievement and performance in the steadily changing American work force and summer break is usually the first place where policy makers go to look in order to find more class time. The idea is that cutting summer break hours may help students fare better in school which will make them better candidates for college. But is expecting that every student coming out of high school attend college realistic or desirable?
Not every student is headed for a post secondary education and not every field requires a college education. With that being said, each student must explore with is appropriate for them and the time and laid back nature of summer break is the perfect time for vocational exploration. While summer time appears to be an unproductive waste of time it need not be this way. Here are some things that parents and their young people should think about when it comes to rethinking and linking summer vacation and making it a part of their child’s lifelong achievement:
Think of each school year as consisting of 12 months and not nine. Thinking of each school year from January to December allows parents, students and educators to view summer as the period when the formal education by the teacher ends and the informal education by the parent begins.
Parents may use their child’s choice of summer recreational or leisure time as a place to start in order to observe their interest for possible career paths. Parents can dole out advice about alternative careers based on their child’s interests and talents providing them with options careers options beyond the realm of traditional employment and beyond the paths to career enrichment. It is important that students know that business ownership, trade or vocational school or other lesser known occupations are all viable plans for their future.
For average student that choose college for their immediate post high school plans, extra summer hours can be key for optimizing choices for a college career. For the college bound scholar, summer can be a time to be researching colleges and scholarships, writing entrance or personal essays, or studying for entrance exams in their weaker academic areas. For the rest or not so scholarly college student, devoting a bit of extra time a few days a week beginning with each summer beginning in their first year of high school will break down the job of preparing for college in smaller tasks, making securing their place in college life less overwhelming. Many times, overworked school counselors do not have the time or resources available to find the more obscure scholarships or financial aid available to students with lower grade point averages or scores on their college entrance exams.
As the world we live in grows more competitive and as more expectations are heaped upon our high school aged children at an exponential rate, parents should not rely on counselors, administrators, counselors or politicians to decide that summer is merely a time laid aside exclusively for leisurely pursuits. It the job of parents themselves to become the proactive reformers that they demand of those sitting in the board rooms in our school systems.