By now, a lot of the summer "busy-ness" is winding down. After all, school starts in a few weeks for most of us.
I wanted to review a few things that you can do with your kids to get them back into a learning mindset. If you've been following me "live" every day on Facebook, you may have heard me discuss some of these issues in recent weeks.
(1) Math Brain
With few exceptions, most parents (unless they are PrepWell Parents) report that their kids have not done one ounce of "math work" this summer. I don't like this one bit. It's important that students keep up some level of engagement with math so that they are not starting next year from ground zero. Teachers confess that the first 3-4 months of the school year is spent reviewing last year's material in order to get kids' brains back in order.
Solution: Encourage your child to create a Khan Academy account (if they don't have one already) and work through the modules until they have achieved 100% mastery of last year's material. For instance, a rising Freshman should complete 100% mastery of 8th grade math.
This is a no-brainer, but not always as easy as it sounds - especially if your child isn't an avid reader. If your child loves to read - great - make sure they are surrounded by books at all times. If your child is not inclined to read on their own - it will take more parental prompting (not nagging).
Solution: Take a trip to the library and let them find books they are interested in. It doesn't matter what they read - just that they do it! Taking a special trip to the library may seem old-fashioned, but it raises the importance that you are placing on the activity. It beats scrounging around the house for an old book that a sibling has read and tossed behind the bed. Make it an event.
(3) Foreign Language
Some kids have the benefit of working, volunteering, or socializing with people who speak the foreign language they study in school. For those who don't have this exposure, it's important to keep their ear tuned to the foreign language they're studying.
Solution: Download the podcast "News in Slow Spanish" (or other language) and turn it on for 15 minutes every morning during breakfast. Just leave it on in the background. Don't force your kids to listen, translate, or summarize. Just let it play. The podcast provides the news of the day spoken by a native speaker at a very slow and understandable pace - one that kids can pick up on. Listening alone will help them get their "ear" back for the language, words, and pronunciation.
Before the dizzying school schedule is upon us again, I highly recommend using the next few weeks to explore what your kids are curious about. What are they interested in? Help them transition from "summer" mode to "learning" mode.
Solution: One of the best ways to do this (without having your kids roll their eyes) is to suggest a TED Talk night. Have one of your kids select a Category and a Topic that inspires them. TED Talks are 15-minute presentations from world-class experts in their fields. One of my favorite TED Talks is about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st. [TED Benefits: free, modest time commitment, time with kids, provides a window into what they are interested in, reignites their curiosity.]
Of course, if your son or daughter is a PrepWeller, they've already been through these activities. They receive a video from me every Sunday where I teach these lessons.
If you think your child might benefit from the PrepWell program, we plan to open enrollment again in September. I hope to see you then.
Author: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.
Inside PrepWell Academy, Black teaches students everything they need to know about the college admissions process in a series of expertly-timed, 3-5-minute, weekly training videos starting in 9th grade and continuing through 12th grade [Note: this program can only be joined in 9th or 10th grade]. My specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League, and student-athletes.