Stop Summer Brain Drain. Go to Camp.

Years ago when you were looking at summer camps for your kids, there were really just three things that mattered:  Was it safe?  Was it close? Was it fun?

Now my main concern is whether it will prevent the summer brain drain that teens can suffer if they sit around sending Snapchats and working on their tan all summer.

The statistics are really pretty frightening:

  • Research spanning 100 years shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer.
  • Most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer months.

academic summer campsThat last one makes me shudder!  Pre-calc has been tough for my daughter and she’s worked so hard this year. I don’t want her to lose all that hard-earned knowledge.

We already decided to maintain a tutoring schedule over the summer. Weekly sessions ensure that when school time rolls back around, we’ll be ready to go. But another terrific option is an academic camp.

We’re not talking summer school, but rather more of an intensive focus on something that your child is really interested in or needs some additional help with. These camp directors know how to make learning fun and different from the school year.

Here are a few types of camps to check into in your area:

  • Science camps – From Space Camp to marine biology to science camps that allow participants to sample all aspects of science, from separating DNA to cloning plants and dissections, a science camp delves more deeply into topics that can’t always be covered in a classroom. Science camps also typically earn high marks for awesome field trips!
  • Robotics camps – Whether your teen participates in Robotics at their high school or wants some experience before joining the team, a Robotics camp can accommodate either level of this terrific resume-building activity. They’ll practice both hard skills in the STEM arena, and soft skills, like presentation techniques and team collaboration.
  • Math Boot Camps – Remember that scary stat above? A math camp might even the score. Unlike all classroom settings, a math camp will really illuminate the fun and practical sides of math, using games, puzzles and challenges to explore and reinforce key concepts.
  • Journalism/Creative Writing Camps – Whether your child loves to write – or prefers 2 txt 2communic8—a camp focused on writing will keep her skills sharp and expand on classroom offerings that typically focus more on the classics.
  • Foreign Language – An intensive language camp can allow your teen to parle Francais et mange fromage at the same time. Most language camps immerse students not only in the language, but the culture and food. So if a trip abroad is not on your family’s itinerary for the summer, the next best thing might be a local language camp.

There are such a wide variety of academic summer camps that you are sure to find something that you and your child agree on. Any avenue you choose will augment your child’s college application, while improving skills they will bring to the classroom next year.


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