Las Vegas charter school students have a BIG opportunity to take summer school. Students can use summer school for getting ahead on credits, repeating a class that they want to receive a better grade (hint: check with your local school to make sure the grade replaces the previous grade), or exploring different courses not offered at their normal school during the school year (foreign language, high level math classes, college classes, etc.). No matter what the purpose, students need to keep on track during summer school.
Here are three simple and effective ways to stay on track in summer school:
Blocking off time
When students block off time to study, they are actually developing a best practice that will transfer to the workforce later in life. Summer school students often go to class and have the same expectation as they do during the normal school year which revolves around a teacher spoon-feeding them with information. Unfortunately, the difference between summer school and taking the same class during the school year is like the difference between taking a sip from a drinking fountain versus drinking from a fire hose. Summer school information is very condensed and will come at a student very quickly. A teacher will not have time to go into depth with each section and student will have an expectation to study outside of class. A good formula for summer school studying is for every hour spent in summer school, then block off time and spend 30 minutes studying (eg. four hours of summer school should equate to two hours of uninterrupted time to study).
Blocking off time is GREAT, but if you expect to study on a lounge chair at the water park and with friends, then you have just created a BIG distraction. Find a “regular” study time and “regular” study place that have NO distractions to get things done. A great place is your local library or quite place in your home. Turn off your phone for the allotted study time and let your family know where you going to be during the study time. Just because you eliminated external distractions with a regular study place and time you are still contending with internal distractions on your mind including: isolating your friends that are not taking summer school (and don’t have anything to do during the summer), coping with having a job or extracurricular sports/activities that you really need/want to be a success, or struggling with the content that you are learning. The best thing to do is to let people know your boundaries and how they can support you. People want to feel they are a part of helping others. Ask your employer or your friends if they would be willing work around your study time and check with your instructor before you leave if it would be okay to check your understanding on a few problems. What you will find is that people will feel a connection with you and regularly check on your progress and if you are compelled to ask questions from the instructor, then you will find yourself paying attention more during class time and holding yourself accountable to those eventual questions you will ask after class.
Enjoying your summer
You need to enjoy your summer and build in check points to socialize with friends and family. Develop a reward system for yourself. For example, if you are study every Monday – Thursday and you earn all A’s and B’s, then on Friday you will earn the privilege to attend the movies with your friends. Ask parents to get involved with your reward system as they may actually help financially support the rewards and they are always great at holding you accountable. Allow yourself to develop new friends at summer school. Be careful on this one, summer school is a short period and you may find yourself developing short-term relationships. Here is a good measuring stick for true friendship: “Does this person make me a better person?” Day after day, if you can answer yes, to that question, then you have yourself a solid friend and possibly a long-lasting relationship.
Take advantage of the BIG opportunity that summer school offers and remember to keep on track.