Summer learning is possible with a good attitude and some good ideas.
Summertime. For kids especially, this is the time of year for trips to the beach, hanging out with friends, late nights, and even later mornings. Or, maybe, for older teens, a summer job. It’s time to be a kid, recharge, and have fun! Take advantage, you earned it!
But fall will be here before you know it. Sorry, not trying to rain on your parade, just being real here. And the reality is that going back to school will be a lot harder if you let yourself lose ground academically over the summer. Use it or lose it, as they say, so if you don’t engage your brain on your time off, you’ll have to re-learn more in the fall. Fortunately, staying in learning-mode over the summer isn’t hard, and it doesn’t have to be boring.
Here are four ways you can keep your brain engaged and still enjoy your vacation.
Maybe you have a summer reading list. Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re a confirmed book-worm. Maybe you’re the opposite of a book-worm. The good news is that even if reading isn’t your favorite thing, you can find reading material you will like. It doesn’t have to be classic literature, if that’s not your style—reading the sports pages counts, or whatever else you’re interested in. What’s your passion? You can read about it! There’s no wrong way to practice reading and learning.
Just as with reading, any kind of writing is good practice. One of the best ways, though, is to keep a journal. Not only do you get to practice putting your words on paper, but journaling also makes you think and reflect on your experiences. For a lot of people, journaling becomes a great creative outlet and stress-reliever. Plus, when you get to be famous, your biographer will want to read your journals for research! And yes, it is better to write your journal by hand, not type it on some electronic device. You’ll get to practice your handwriting, and a notebook never runs low on batteries. A lot of people find writing by hand a lot more relaxing, too.
Any new thing you learn challenges your brain and helps keep you sharp—it doesn’t have to be anything you’ll find on a test in school. You could learn how to write computer programs, how to cook omelets, how to identify trees, or how to play whiffle ball, or whatever you want. The point is to keep your brain moving so that when you get back to school, you’re not out of practice at thinking and learning.
One way to make sure you are on top of your game is to teach someone else. Maybe you can tutor a friend or a younger sibling in something academic, so you’ll both be fresher when you get back to school. Or maybe you can help a friend learn to surf or teach your parents how to use Snapchat. The point is that nothing helps you learn a skill at a deep level better than figuring out how to teach it and, as already noted, learning anything helps keep your brain in good working order. Plus, teaching is a unique way to get to know someone better. You might find you’ll make a new friend.
So there it is. Summer learning = read, write, learn, teach. Now…go out there and have some fun!