What is a Summer School?

Many parents debate whether or not to send their children to summer school. The decision isn't always an easy one and understanding what a summer school is (and what it is not), what the programs offer and whether or not your child would benefit from attending one can make the decision much easier. This report will provide you with the information you need so you can understand exactly what a summer school is and you can make an informed decision about whether or not you should consider a summer school program for your child.

What Is a Summer School?

To put it simply, a summer school is a program of study sponsored by a school or a school district during the months of summer vacation. Summer school programs usually lasting anywhere from six to ten weeks depending on the school and the course of study. Most summer schools offer a wide variety of summer school courses. It is important to understand that summer schools offer more than just academic courses. For instance, a summer school may offer the basic reading, writing and arithmetic classes, but it can also offer archery, cooking classes, courses geared towards the arts and other recreational areas of study.

Not all Summer Schools are Created Equal

Many people have misconceived notions about what a summer school is. Contrary to what some people may believe, summer schools are not just geared towards "under-performing" children, nor are they merely programs for children with special needs. (Although students that fit these descriptions can definitely benefit from a summer school program.)

It is important to understand that summer school programs can be as varied as the programs that are made available to students throughout the school year. From academically-gifted students to students who need remedial assistance, there are a wide range of students who can benefit from summer school offerings.

If you have a student who thrives on academic challenge, he or she could benefit greatly from a summer school program geared towards college prep; whereas a student with learning disabilities would do very well in a summer school program designed to assist with his or her remedial needs. There are summer school courses to fit the needs of almost any child.

Summer School vs. Summer Camp

Many parents are confused as to the differences between summer schools and summer camps. It used to be that summer schools were academically-orientated institutions while summer camps were more geared towards recreation. Nowadays, however, the differences between summer schools and summer camps are diminishing and many schools are offering recreational programs while many camps are offering educational opportunities.

In today's day and age, the main difference between summer schools and summer camps is in who sponsors them. Summer schools are always sponsored by a school or a school district, whereas a summer camp can be run by anyone.

The Benefits of Summer School

Summer schools offer students a wide variety of benefits. First and foremost, summer schools offer students an opportunity to pursue their personal and academic interests during the summer months when regular school is not in session. Summer schools also keep children occupied and out of trouble, offer a social environment where students are able to stay in touch with one another during the summer and fulfill the educational needs for both gifted students and students needing remedial assistance.

If you have a gifted student, summer school can offer your child educational challenges throughout the summer months when regular school is not in session. It can also provide as a college preparatory program, preparing your student for the future.

On the other hand, if your child needs extra assistance in a subject like reading or math, summer school can help keep your child from falling behind in the upcoming school year by providing him or her with the additional educational assistance he or she needs.

Even if your child is just the average student with no special needs or requirements, summer school can provide him or her with programs and activities that interest them on a personal level, while providing them with something to occupy their time during the summer.

One of the best things about summer school is that it offers a child the opportunity to take classes that might not otherwise be available to them. For instance, a seventh-grade student interested in learning French may not have the opportunity to add the class to their schedule during the school year. Summer school offers them the opportunity to take the class on their own without having to wait for high school.

The Costs of Summer School

The cost of summer school varies depending on a number of factors. Some summer school programs are absolutely free while others cost thousands of dollars. The exact amount needed to send a child to summer school is determined by where the child lives, whether or not the child qualifies for any special programs or assistance, the programs the child is interested in enrolling in, and how many weeks the course of study is.

If your child is enrolling in a summer school that involves room and board, the program can easily cost thousands of dollars. However, if your child is attending a six-week summer day-school program sponsored by a public school, the entire course may only cost $50. If summer school classes are recommended by your child's teacher, you may not even have to pay for the summer school classes at all, depending on the policies of the school and the school district.

Is Summer School Right For Your Child?

The biggest decision to make when considering summer school is whether or not summer school is right for your child. Because of this, your child's personality, interests and needs must be taken into consideration as well as your lifestyle and what your child's friends will be doing during the summer.

Does your child have any special interests that could be catered to by a summer school program, such as a musical instrument, art or another course of study? Does your child need extra assistance in remedial learning? Does he or she have special academic gifts that require constant stimulation and challenge? Any of these situations are a sign that summer school would be a great opportunity for the student. On the other hand, if your child is interested only in sports and all of his or her friends are attending a sports camp in the area, summer school may not be the best choice for your child.

Your lifestyle must also be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not you should enroll your child in summer school. If your family tends to travel quite a bit during the summer, you will need to plan your trips around your child's summer school schedule. If you don't, your child may fall behind in coursework.

Do you work full time? If you won't be there to drive your child to and from classes, you'll need to arrange for proper transportation. These are some things that must be considered when determining whether or not to enroll your child in a summer school program.

The best way to decide on whether or not to send your child to summer school is to begin researching the programs available in your area. If you have a well-rounded summer school program in your area, there is likely to be a wide selection of summer school courses for your child to choose from. Sit down with your child to discuss the options and see what is best for you and your family.

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