Summers in Connecticut – particularly near the Shoreline – are idyllic. And, while there is a romantic vision of letting your children play away their days in wholesome recreation and care free endeavors, the reality is not quite this vision. During a typical summer week, most teens work a few hours in part time jobs, have a dozen or so hours of high quality fun, and then… I hate to break anyone’s illusion of what might be 1950s like behavior but the fun often involves smoking pot, drinking, finding alone spots for boyfriends/girlfriends, and/or immersion n complete diversions related to their phone/computer.
Spending some time in productive activities will not ruin their summers. It will better their lives. And, research proves this point.
Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal work, Outliers, should be mandatory reading for all parents. He discusses a Johns Hopkins study of Baltimore City public schools. The conclusion: there was no difference in ability between lower and upper income children when students started elementary school. There was little difference in how lower and upper income children progressed during the school year. The major difference in how lower and upper income children progressed was during the summer. Lower income children – often with single parents who worked – had little to no access to educational programs. Upper income children either had parents who paid for outside educational programs, such as tutoring and test prep, and/or were able to spend time themselves educating their children.
Since The Learning Consultants started in the early 2000s, we have provided different educational enrichment programs for our students. During the school year, we almost exclusively focus on school subjects. During the summer, we focus on test prep and/or areas of enrichment (math and writing tend to be popular) that will help build our students. The success of our students helps proved Gladwell’s point.