Should Your Child Do Homework on Vacation or at Camp?

June 10, 2024

Over the summer, many New York City kids take the opportunity to leave the city for a bit and travel or go to camp. For students preparing for a standardized test in the fall, I talk to parents who ask, “What should my child be doing while they’re away?” 

This question can be tricky. We often recommend that students use the summer to get ahead on test preparation when they don’t have other school work. However, this is the standard recommendation to students staying home – those traveling and at camp will certainly have other things to keep them busy!

SOMETIMES A BREAK IS BETTER

If your child is going away, our recommendation depends on how they’re doing. If your child got an early start with preparation, or if they’re already scoring reasonably well on their practice tests, it may be best to let your child take a break. Students work so hard throughout the school year, and a clean break from any academic work can help students refresh and avoid burnout come fall. Also, if your child is traveling or at camp, they’re building other important skills – either learning about new cultures, interacting with new peer groups, and problem solving in new settings.

SOME STUDENTS SHOULD BRING A FEW TOOLS FOR PRACTICE

However, if you feel your child needs a bit of extra support, there are some options for keeping up work over the summer. An easy way to get ahead is to use flashcards. A lot of admissions tests are vocabulary heavy, and students can use flashcards to easily learn new words while traveling or at camp. Students can also use flashcards for other things – memorizing important math formulas, figures of speech, rules, and more. They can also bring math worksheets – while it’s unlikely they will be diving into new, complicated learning while away, doing a problem here and there is an easy way to review math they learned in the spring. Finally, they can bring a journal – many standardized tests have writing components, and when students write in a journal, they practice organizing their thoughts, using grammar conventions and spelling, and adding details to their ideas.

MAKE A CONCRETE PLAN

If your child decides to do work over the summer, it’s very important to plan ahead. Once your child is in a new, exciting environment, the last thing they’ll want to do is pull out homework. Instead of relying on self-motivation in the moment, make a schedule they can stick to. It’s important to be concrete – you should think about when they will complete the work (where and what time of day), how much work they’ll aim to complete (either a set number of items or an amount of time), and how they will track their progress. It’s also important to set realistic goals – students are unlikely to do a full hour of work each day at camp, but 10 minutes might not feel so difficult, and those minutes will add up over the weeks.

PLAN FOR WHEN THEY RETURN

Regardless of what you decide to do over the summer, it’s important to have a plan for when you get back. Those last weeks of August can be a great time to get ahead with either private or group tutoring. Click here to learn more about our group tutoring options. To learn more about private tutoring options, email info@smartcitytutoring.com or submit an inquiry form.

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