The snow may still be falling now, but before you know it, spring will be here. And soon after: the lazy days of summer. But that doesn’t mean summer vacation has to go hand in hand with lethargy and wasted time. In fact, summer can be a wonderful opportunity for learning and continuing your child’s education.
Summer is a chance to enrich your child’s life and open him up to new experiences. This year, consider sending your child to an educational summer camp.
Choosing the Right Camp for Your Child
There’s a lot to consider before packing up your child’s suitcase and dropping him off.
Obviously, you’ll need to consider the cost and decide on your budget. For many camps, you may be able to apply for financial aid to help ease the cost. Check with your specific camp for funding options early on to increase your chances of earning an award.
Once you’ve determined how much you can spend, it’s time to start searching for camps within your budget that will benefit your child the most. Keep in mind what your child is ready to handle and will feel comfortable with. Three of the biggest considerations are subject, location, and duration.
Some programs are career-oriented and give your child a taste of what a career in medicine or law would be like. Others offer an opportunity to improve essential skills or build upon lessons taught in the classroom.
Whether it’s courses in public speaking, science, math, creative writing, computers, college admissions preparation, music, art or almost any other topic, there’s an academic summer camp to suit your child.
If purely academic courses don’t appeal to your child, consider an enrichment program, such as a leadership camp, a nature studies camp, or a service camp where your child can learn the value and personal rewards of volunteering.
Even if the camp isn’t designed to improve your child’s grades, a good summer camp can build character, widen your child’s interests, and help develop social skills. All these things can help your child do better in school and throughout their career.
Many universities offer on-campus programs where students can stay in a residence hall and get a first-hand look at college life. This can be a great way to prepare students for the not-too-distant future college experience.
For some camps, the location is a big part of the draw. If your child is going to spend the summer learning French, a French-speaking country is the only choice. Natural science and nature programs may require your child go to a specific site.
Just remember that programs closer to home will usually be cheaper in the long run, especially if air travel is involved. Also, if your child gets homesick while in Central America, it will be a harder situation to remedy than if he’s a two-hour drive from home.
Would a program that keeps your child away for most of the summer be something he could handle? Would a two-week camp be more up his alley? Or perhaps a day camp where he can still come home to his own bed?
If you’re considering a camp that’s far from home, like for a language immersion program, you may not have much choice. But this is an important factor to consider. Sending your child away from home before he’s ready or for too long will inevitably ruin the experience.
Other Benefits of Educational Summer Camps
Besides personal enrichment and memories to last a lifetime, summer camp can provide your child with an opportunity to earn high school credit. Check with the camp ahead of time to determine qualifications.
Educational summer camps also look great on college applications. A reputable program can show college admissions officers that the student is dedicated and sincerely interested in lifelong learning.
With all these benefits and wonderful opportunities waiting for your child, don’t let another summer go by without at least considering an educational summer camp.
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