Have the last five snow days given you a new appreciation for school? You are not alone! Every mom I’ve spoken with has run out of games, crafts, and activities for the kids.
Having your kids home day after day is not good for you or them. SO…..let’s talk summer programs! You don’t want to be caught without a good mix of activities for your learning-lovers which means you need to start NOW. Read this post to get smart about selecting academic summer programs for your child.
Summer Programs of the Academic Kind
Why should you consider an academic summer program?
- Because it will make your kids happy. FACT ALERT: Research shows that spending time with intellectual peers, as opposed to age mates, is critical to the happiness and well-being of bright children.
- Because it will give them access to kids like themselves. This may be their first time to be in class with true intellectual peers who share the same interests and love of learning.
- Because your kids can learn something new and different, which again will make them happy. Students also have the opportunity to explore subjects not offered in their school.
Residential Academic Programs
If you have a middle-school-age child or older who is ready to spend days and nights away from you (or YOU are ready for them to) but who is more “Camp Science” than “Camp Longhorn,” you can research a residential academic program. These are programs that offer room and board + classes – kind of like college. Having a mini-college experience can be a big boost from a confidence, experience, and preparation perspective!
EXAMPLE: Some of the courses offered by Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth include Politics in the Middle East, Paleobiology, and Data Structures and Algorithms. Summer courses like these are similar in content to college courses, so gifted students are truly challenged. There are many more like this one, and I have done significant research on summer programs, which can save you time – please contact me if you are interested to learn more!
How to get in: Some programs require out-of-level testing, others like IQ test scores while others will accept achievement testing done through the school. Applications are due in early spring, so it’s important to move forward if this is something you want to pursue.
How to select the right program:
- Talk with your child about his interests. He will have a much better summer experience if he is involved in the planning.
- Think about whether or not your child is ready for a residential program. Has he spent time away from home? How are his independent living/self-care skills? Some schools have day programs if a non-residential placement is desired.
- Check admission requirements. Does the program require testing your child has not had? If so, look online and sign up right away. Also, some programs have specific cut-off scores, so watch for this.
- Inquire as to how instructors are chosen. Are instructors school faculty or are they brought in from other places?
- Look at how the course fits in with your child’s school curriculum. Will this be a class he will get credit for? Is the course close in content to a class he will have to take at a later date? If so, you might want to choose something outside the school curriculum.
- Look for reviews of the program. Speak with friends, look online, etc. to get a better picture of the program.
Best of luck!
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