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June 15, 2015

How to talk to your child about summer executive function coaching

As the summer approaches, children of all ages are ready to trade in their routine and responsibilities for some carefree time at summer camp or the pool. In many previous posts, we’ve discussed the “summer slide,” whether it is fact or fiction (it is fact!), and how to go about preventing academic losses during the summer months. This post will focus on the benefits of summer tutoring and how to go about talking to your children about academic summer programming.

Schedule summer reading to avoid late august stress

How many times has your child postponed his summer reading until the very last week of the summer? And, how many times has he started school feeling tired and overworked, all because he crammed in his reading at the last minute? When you open a conversation with your child about the possibility of summer tutoring, remind him how it felt to rush his reading and be unprepared for the start of the year. Explain how meeting with an executive function coach throughout the summer can help him to budget his time wisely. With a tutor, he’ll get to enjoy every last drop of summer, even that final week before school. Attending short tutoring sessions throughout the summer will not only keep him on track and increase his reading comprehension, but also minimize his stress overall.

Attend writing sessions to lessen fall work loads

Every year, teachers expect more and more from their students, especially in terms of writing and critical analysis. Parents and students can preempt increases in difficulty, which come at the start of each new year, by continuing to develop and learn new skills over the summer.  Or, if your student is applying to colleges, he can use the summer months to prepare ahead and get some of his applications out of the way before regular classes resume. When students understand that summer tutoring can make their life easier, by minimizing difficulties they could experience later, they become more amenable to giving up some of their leisure time. Moreover, practicing writing over the summer gives students an excellent opportunity to relax, write organically, and foster their own creativity, without the pressures of their traditional year-round deadlines.

Keep math skills fresh to facilitate new learning

Convincing your student to practice math over the summer is no easy feat. Many students are assigned summer math packets and may welcome the help of a tutor to work through the pages of review from their previous academic year. However, for students without assigned problem sets, working with a tutor may be even more important. Executive function tutors can help students predict what kinds of problems they will receive in their upcoming year of school, review and master past problem types, and solidify students’ foundations in math, in order to keep building problem-solving skills for the future. Explain to your child that, while practicing math over the summer may not be his idea of fun, neither is forgetting everything he’s learned and coming back in the fall unprepared.

Get organized to set up for success

Many students love making the annual trip to buy new school supplies for the fall. However, your child may not know what organizational tools and systems will support him best in his upcoming year. Meeting with an executive function coach over the summer can help your child nail down the right strategies for his individual needs. When pitching a bit of organizational practice to your child over the summer, remind him that he has a chance to increase his odds of succeeding in the fall (and in life) by planning and organizing properly. Explain that a small sacrifice, of just a few hours this summer, can make your child’s trip to the office supply store even more satisfying and productive.

Gain an advantage and confidence in specific skillsets

Many students feel blind-sided, or even embarrassed, when they approach new and foreign academic tasks for the first time. Classes that introduce Shakespeare, or require novel presentations in front of the class, can be scary for any student. Summer programming, whether it is a workshop or one-on-one tutoring, can help students to build confidence in unfamiliar or weaker subjects. But, parents need to remove the stigma of tutoring first in order for their children to understand its potential benefits. Discuss with your child the true meaning of tutoring; he does not need a tutor because he is “dumb.” In fact, he is quite smart for choosing to prepare himself wisely and tackle new challenges in a supportive (and ungraded!) environment.

Although the “summer tutoring” conversation is a hard one, the benefits of summer tutoring are immeasurable. Tutoring doesn’t need to be overwhelming or take up too much of your child’s vacation time. With just a little summer practice, your child can gain an “edge” in the fall that might not otherwise be achieved at home or on the student’s own terms.