Summer is on its way. Can you smell it in the air? I can smell it in the fog rising off the lake. Even out here in the Northland, the snow is all but gone and the first flowers are blooming, little green and purple surprises. Accordingly, kids all over are feeling that anxious itch for summer vacation. To be honest, I am too, even though it doesn’t mean vacation for me anymore.
Summer has one downside, though. Summer learning loss. Studies have found that on average, students lose about one month’s worth of learning over the summer. This number varies across demographics, location, and subject. In fact, students tend to lose just over two and a half months of math knowledge. Low income students tend to be set back about two months of reading.
Only about 9% of students K-12 in the US attend summer programs.
So how can you keep your students on track through their summertime adventures? How about incorporating it into their daily life? Learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom. Have them pick up a book, and talk with you about it when they’ve finished reading. Take them on nature walks and explore the wonder of the world around you. You can learn together. Educational computer games are fun for a rainy day, too. Check out Chester Creek’s new educational software packs for computer adventures through science, logic, math, and more! Throw in a LessonBoard to teach them good typing skills while they’re at it – a skill sure to come in handy next fall, giving them a leg up over their peers.
Yesterday, I wrote a little about homeschooling as an education option. This is one route that provides huge flexibility and choice regarding structure and content. Another non-traditional education path is the charter school.
Definitions for charter schools vary from state to state, as do laws, but generally a charter school is the following:
- A public School.
- Created when a group individuals petition a local school board or county board of education for a charter to open an independent school in their community.
- Sponsored by another organization, such as a local university.
- Typically founded by educators, parents, community groups or private organizations.
- Operated under a written contract with a state, district or other entity.
- Required to meet local, state, or federal standards of education.
Furhter definitions can be found at US Charter Schools. These schools can be part of a larger public school district, or an independent district supported by the state and sponsors.The National Charter School Study has found that the top three reasons charter schools are created is to gain autonomy, realize a vision, or serve a specific group. These goals are met in a variety of ways. Charter schools’ freedom allows them to structure the learning as they like.
Parents and teachers choose charter schools primarily for educational reasons–high academic standards, small class size, innovative approaches, or educational philosophies in line with their own. Some also have chosen charter schools for their small size and associated safety (charter schools serve an average of 250 students). -US Charter Schools
The charter school which I used to work for, Avalon School, for instance, accepts 180 students from grades 7-12 and emphasizes growth through project-based learning — very different from the traditional public schools in the St. Paul area.
There are so many options for education available; what works best for your family?
Homeschooling is an increasingly popular choice among American families. The number of homeschoolers increases by over 8% annually, and about one million US families already homeschool, according to numerous studies by individuals, organizations, and the census bureau. Why do people homeschool? For a number of reasons, whether it be displeasure with the public option or a desire to build stronger family bonds. As many reasons as there are for homeschooling, there are just as many approaches. Some of the typical homeschooling approaches are listed here.
Two of the main concerns about homeschooling are whether the children will earn to socialize and whether or not they will match traditionally schooled peers in learning. Studies have shown that contrary to the belief of some, homeschooled children tend to be more confident in social situations and less peer-dependant. As to the speed and quality of learning, every child learns differently. This is true of homeschooled children as well as traditionally-schooled kids. The quality of their learning depends entirely upon their natural abilities and the parents’ commitment. There is no reason a homeschooled child cannot have an education as good as or better than any public-school student. The other worry is cost. According to homeschool.com, one of the internet’s largest homeschool networks, homeschooling can cost as little or as much as the parent’s decide. Resources include free work sheets and expenszive boxed curriculum. Peripheral educational devices like computers can also be very important to learning. Much of the free curriculum is available through the web, after all, and skills like typing and research are indispensable in today’s world.
To help both traditional and non-traditional educational programs, Chester Creek offers a 10% discount for orders that can be verified as part of a library or education program.
What techniques do you use in your homeschooling adventures?