There has been a lot of research over the years on how students take a step back in their academic progress over the summer. Some studies show that students lose up to three months of their grade level equivalency, with math skills taking the hardest hit. Anecdotally, you can probably think of a few moments when your child was a little rusty at the start of the school year. How can you help your child prevent the summer slide, and still take the time you all want and need to relax and have fun?
The first step is to identify the subjects that your child currently has the biggest challenges with. Those will most likely be the subjects that he or she will need help getting up to speed on in September. The next step is to look for any enrichment opportunities offered by camps, local libraries, volunteer groups, or foundations in your area. For example, if your child consistently struggles with math or science concepts, there are great STEM-themed camps going on throughout Los Angeles at various times in the summer. If your child struggles with history or English, think about signing him or her up to a Shakespeare workshop. Chances are, these activities will present the material in fun and engaging ways that don’t feel like schoolwork. Often, you can sign up for these camps by the week and some, by the day.
If you have travel plans, look ahead to what kinds of enrichment activities you can take advantage of while you are on the road. Heading to another country? Why not plan a trip to some culturally and historically enriching locations, or help your child strengthen his or her foreign language skills. Taking a road trip across the U.S.? Take a few moments during the trip to look up historical landmarks and book a guided tour with a professional.
If your child has an open schedule during the summer, it is a good idea to bring in an academic manager to work on any summer reading projects or assignments. An academic manager can help your child pace his or her work, and prevent the rush to finish the week before school starts. In addition, if your child has an interest that verges on the academic, such as music production, an academic manager could work with your child to create a podcast, or research and write about a favorite musician. Let us know how Franklin can help you find a great academic manager for the summer. We work seven days a week, year-round, to help children develop a love for learning. Let’s keep your child’s progress moving forward!
On behalf of everyone at Franklin, I hope you have a fantastic summer!
John Posatko, M.Ed.
Director of Education
It’s hard to believe the school year is ending so soon. In many ways, the start of the 2018 – 2019 schoolyear seems like it was eons ago. In other ways, it feels like the first days of school were only last month. We’ve watched our children develop skills, strengthen friendships, and explore their interests.
I am grateful for the chance to see my children’s voices emerge in their writing – even when it meant staying up late or reading several editions. I am also grateful to see their hard work translating into their understanding of process – even when they didn’t achieve the hoped-for score on a test.
My children, and yours, have spent another year becoming more of who they are. It’s is a privilege to get to know them and understand them better. It’s also amazing to think back to what they were like as infants and toddlers and finally understand why they responded in certain ways. Those early years make much more sense now.
Whether your child is just beginning, in the middle of, or reaching the end of his or her academic career, may these moments at the end of the school year be filled with appreciation for the accomplishments your child has achieved over the past nine or ten months.
Accomplishments come in many forms and sometimes the smallest achievements have the biggest impact on how our children perceive themselves and their ability to navigate their lives. It’s important to acknowledge all of the steps forward our children take because there are many, many steps on the path to adulthood. May your children and mine, find that path supported by the family, friends, and caring adults they need to stay motivated and keep going.
Rachel Fisher, MA
By now you and your child should have a general idea of what his or her final grades will be for this semester, barring an unexpected score on a final exam or project. If you have not had a conversation with your child about his or her grades yet, now is a good time. When June rolls around, it may be too late to have a meaningful discussion around the subject, since summer and its many distractions will be well underway.
How should you talk to your child about grades? Think back to what your parents told you about the grades you received on your report card. Was there something positive and uplifting you remember about those conversations, or were they anxiety-inducing? Did your parents punish you, or set healthy expectations, boundaries, and support to help you set yourself up for success the following year? Now is the time you can establish positive patterns for your child’s development of responsibility and accountability that will help him or her child throughout their academic career and beyond.
First, talk openly and honestly about what each grade reflects about this year’s effort. Did he or she receive an A in Math because of all the hard work put into studying for tests and quizzes? Was that B- in History due to incomplete homework assignments? What about that miraculous A- in AP World History – was that due in part to getting a tutor second semester or submitting several extra credit assignments? Further, talk about the implications for next year’s course schedule. Do these grades indicate your child’s classes are at the right level? Maybe they indicate your child is ready for more challenging coursework, Honors or AP classes. Or perhaps, your child struggled and would do better in a class that moves at a slower pace? For parents of high school students, it’s important to discuss how this semester’s grades will affect his or her overall GPA and which colleges will be sensible to target.
These discussions can be fraught with tension and emotion, and that is OK. The best thing you can do as a parent is to try to separate your expectations for success from your child’s. If you focus on what your child wants to get out of the rest of his or her school years, you will be able to foster a healthy response to his or her performance. Sometimes that means framing the discussion about how to approach this coming summer. Did your child not get the grade he or she wanted in English? How about trying a tutor over the summer to help with a summer reading project? Getting your child summer help is a great way to prevent the “summer slide” and set him or her up to achieve their best next year.
As always, we are here to help. To inquire about getting support over the summer, or to ask about how you can talk to your child about end-of-year grades, call our office at 310-571-1176 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Posatko, M.Ed.
Director of Education
Did you forget that May 7th was Teacher Appreciation Day? Don’t worry – there are plenty of ways to show your child’s teachers that you value their service. Modeling appreciation fosters healthy communication, perspective and gratitude in children, and helps them navigate all types of interpersonal dynamics that they’ll encounter throughout their academic careers.
The most obvious way to show teacher appreciation is to purchase a simple gift, like a box of chocolates, a small plant, or a gift card to a local coffee shop. All teachers appreciate this kind of gesture, and it is perhaps the easiest to put together. At this busy time of year, it’s also the most logical and practical option. If you have time to spare, however, you can help your child make a gift at home, like a picture collage or a batch of brownies that his or her teacher can share with other teachers. In addition to being more personal, a homemade gift is usually less expensive, and teaches your child to be resourceful with the things they have at home.
One way to show appreciation that is often overlooked is a hand-written note from your child. To many teachers, this is the most personal and impactful gift they can receive from a student. It shows that your child put valuable time and thought into expressing his or her appreciation, and it is an opportunity for your child to be vulnerable and authentic – two traits that will come in handy for years to come. Did your child’s teacher put in extra time to teach an especially difficult concept, write a recommendation, or go out of their way to teach an important non-academic lesson? A personalized note is a great way to respond in kind.
We at Franklin know how much work you do as the parent, and how many balls you have to juggle and hats you have to wear on a weekly basis. If you forgot to show your child’s teachers that your family appreciates them – don’t fret! It’s never too late to show them you care. If you would like to discuss how we can help you and your child navigate the remainder of the school year, please call 310.571.1176 or email FranklinServices@FranklinEd.com.
John Posatko, M.Ed.
Director of Education
As we head into the last few weeks of the school year, life is a jumble of final projects, tests and end-of- year parties. Summer vacation is so close! It’s easy to get caught up planning for the fun and get caught off guard with how rapidly big project due dates and big test days are approaching.
While the best advice is to review and practice without being rushed, some of us need to feel the heat to get our act into gear. There is a surge of energy that happens when study or working time is condensed. DON’T give up. There is plenty that can be done up until very last minute. DO take five – thirty minutes to create a strategy for tackling what needs to be accomplished, including:
Create a calendar highlighting each test and project due date
For tests – review of what will be covered and within that material – determine which topics are already understood or mastered, which topics will be mastered with a quick review, and which topics are remain confusing. If half or less than half of the topics are still confusing, bring in an expert tutor to explain them quickly and efficiently. Invest in an extra session to review the areas already mastered, this ensures these areas are covered, gives your kid a little extra practice, and can catch any gaps your child didn’t realize were there.
For projects – review the rubric for the assignment and compile all needed materials. Determine which components involve your child’s strengths and help your child move through those as efficiently as possible. Work collaboratively with your child to complete the components your child struggles with. For example, if your child has slowly emerging written language skills it is likely hard to organize his or her thoughts. Ask your child for his or her thoughts about the project/thesis/author/plot and take notes on what is shared. Number these ideas in a word or Google doc so the two of you can easily cut and paste all your child’s thoughts into an order that makes sense. This step also helps you both confirm whether all the discussion points from the rubric have been addressed. Then, take dictation while your child narrates what he or she wants to say using the ordered list as a guide. Once drafted, your child can proofread by reading aloud with your assistance if needed. Help your child revise and publish the final draft.
Rachel Fisher, M.A.
It’s that time of year again, where Spring Break is bliss and end-of-year exams loom heavily over the heads of 10th and 11th graders and their parents. Even if you are a relaxed parent by nature, it can be hard not to become anxious when your child is about to take exams that can affect his or her final grades in addition to the AP, ACT, SAT and SAT Subject test scores that will be part of his or her college application package.
The best way to help your child through this is by ensuring the availability of the support your child needs to feel prepared and confident going into his or her exams. This can mean planning extra time on campus to take advantage of teacher’s advisory periods or after-school hours, or peer tutoring sessions typically offered before school, at lunchtime, or after school.
Helping your child can also mean planning time to go over flash cards, chapter review questions, and test prep books together. If you feel your child would benefit from even more support, then you can arrange for a content-expert or test prep specialist to coach your child for one or more sessions as the test dates come closer.
The more your child is able to review and practice answering questions in the format that will be used on the test, the better he or she will perform the day of. Our primary job is to help our children carve out the time they need to prepare themselves. And if our children need help to prepare, then we need to arrange for or provide that help – whether it’s helping them access the resources available to them at school, hiring an expert tutor, or by lending a hand and a few hours to give your child the chance to practice demonstrating what he or she knows.
Franklin works with several content-area experts and test prep specialists who are available in the evenings and on the weekends. If you would like to discuss how we can help your child, please call 310.571.1176 or email FranklinServices@FranklinEd.com.
Rachel Fisher, MA
Some jobs require employees to relocate to another city, or even country, for a period of time. What should you do in this situation for your child, who may be in the middle of his or her school year? There are a few important items to consider, especially regarding the school of record, and the ability to transfer credit. We offer some options below on the best way to approach this unique challenge, as well as some key questions to start asking right away.
These are the steps to follow once you learn that your family may be relocating for a longer period of time:
Lastly, if you would like to discuss any of these options with us here at Franklin, we can help! We have homeschooling options and plenty of expertise in this specific field.
Director of Education
I just read a great article suggesting that we stop asking our children what they want to be when they grow up. The author, Adam Grant, wasn’t implying that our children shouldn’t dream or aspire to fulfill a personal calling. He was, however, bringing reality back into the equation.
Grant’s comment that asking children what they want to be when they are older forces them to define themselves by their career. This focus shifts defining a desirable adult path away from the characteristics we hope our children possess as adults (happiness, empathy, morality, nurturing) and can have regardless of the job they choose or may hired for.
To read the original works referenced in this blog visit:
Director of Special Projects
We have reached the midway point of the spring semester! It’s time to check in with your child’s teachers, confirm all assignments have been submitted, and evaluate which steps should be taken to ensure your child finishes the school year strongly.
If your child appears to be struggling in any area, this is the perfect time to request a meeting with your child’s teacher. If your child has overdue assignments, ask the teacher if they can be submitted for partial credit. This will help your child’s overall grade, but more importantly, it will demonstrate your family’s approach to helping your child fulfill his or her responsibilities as a student.
Collaborating with your child’s teacher should also help you target where and how you can provide support at home. If you are looking for additional tips and strategies for how to best help your child with schoolwork, you might want to consider reading the book recently published by New Harbinger Press and authored by our very own Daniel Franklin, PhD. The strategies are helpful for all parents and benefit any student having a hard time learning material, taking tests, and staying organized. The title is Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities: Strategies to Succeed in School and Life with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, ADHD, and Processing Disorders.
If your child appears to be sailing smoothly through the semester, then this is the time of year to evaluate how much time will need to be set aside to adequately prepare for end of the year projects and final exams.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to reflect and plan for the remainder of the school year will help both you and your child navigate the upcoming weeks as successfully as possible. You are nearing the finish line. Hang in there! And, if you need any help, we’re here to support you and provide academic and executive functioning support for all students. Our instructors work seven days a week and if you live in Orange County or the Greater Los Angeles area, we will come to your home or meet at a Franklin Learning Center.
Rachel Fisher, M.A.
You may have heard the buzz surrounding a new TV show based on the book titled The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, in which she visits the homes of families who are in need of getting their things – and life – in order. Marie’s philosophy is to keep only the things that bring you joy, and to discard or donate everything else. As a parent, you can’t always throw away the things that your children have accumulated just because they don’t bring you or them joy, but you can certainly help them to tidy up and declutter their school supplies and materials using the methods below.
First, start by looking at your child’s backpack. Are there any papers, notes or handouts, from last semester that aren’t needed anymore? What about old binders or notebooks from previous classes? Help your child come up with an organizational system in the backpack so that he or she knows exactly where to reach for any homework that needs to be turned in. It also helps to dedicate a space for heavy-use items like the iPad, calculator, or daily planner.
Next, look around your child’s room, especially at the work space. Are there any items encroaching from the sports equipment pile, the hobbies and interests pile, or the clothing pile? Help to declutter and organize these spaces better so that your child can see that his or her work space is a dedicated area to focus on schoolwork. Repurposing old shoeboxes or plastic food containers is a great way to keep track of those hard-to-find items, such as pencils, erasers, clips, sharpies and rubber bands. You can also find inexpensive plastic organizers with drawers for each category of school supplies at Target or Staples.
Lastly, take stock of the books that have piled up in your child’s room. Some of these may be books about interests, while others are old copies of books from last year’s classes. While we encourage parents to have books around at all times to foster encouragement for reading and writing, it is still appropriate to make space for new books and items that will be accumulating between now and June. You can donate used books to your local library, or post them on social media for parents who have younger children. It feels good to declutter while helping out other families at the same time!
Once you and your child have finished making space and organizing, it’s time to celebrate! Take him or her out for a treat to show that you are proud of him or her for taking the initiative to get those school supplies in order. These are valuable skills that will stay with your child for a long time.
John Posatko, M.A.Ed.
Director of Education
The first step to promoting good reading skills is providing children a language-rich environment. This is an environment in which parents and other adults actively engage in verbal communication with a child from birth. Even the youngest child benefits from engaging in fun games of mimicking silly sounds and made-up speech. These games are most […]Read more