Use vinegar and sugar to avoid the summer brain – drain
By Don Valentine
‘The long break of summer vacation should not be viewed as a respite for academic dalliance. I personally was a voracious reader as a child. My mother did not have to inspire me to pick up a book or magazine. In retrospect, if she had forced me to face my fear of learning Spanish I would have been better acclimated for life in Florida. The moral of that story is not to let little “Stevie” waste the precious practice time summer provides to work on an academic pratfall. We all intuitively know the value of going to college. Where you go to college is one of the lasting footprints of your career. The summer is too valuable a time to not practice and strengthen an academic frailty.
Parents take the lead here and influence your nascent academicians to hone and polish the areas where they are struggling. It could be math, reading, writing, civics, science or a language; it does not matter. Every aspiring scholar has an area that needs improvement. Not to mention a chance to elevate an area and get into “Advanceed Placement” class. Put your child or niece/nephew on a weekly structured plan toward improvement. Get them ready for the rigors of next fall.
For example, you could challenge them to complete two grade appropriate books per month. Have them complete a written summary of the book. If they can do it in a timely manner then reward them with a small treat. They might want to go to the beach, eat pizza or see a movie. The reward they earned is the sugar. The real value is the small incremental improvement they make toward an easier fall class work.
If they don’t finish in a timely manner, then they get an extra duty task. My Dad called them chores when I was a boy. Vinegar by any name is meant to be avoided. This template can be used for whatever subjects your child finds challenging. The key is to make them hone their academic talents.
An easy way to get started is to “Google-Search” for exercises that are grade level specific and insert the subject. Use the “Sugar and Vinegar” paradigm and I forecast academic improvement next fall.