Is Summer School for You?

May is a busy month for schools. Standardized tests, field trips, and graduation planning takes center stage. Teachers meet with parents of struggling students as well as those who would benefit from summer enrichment classes to discuss summer school enrollment. This article will help parents/ guardians decide whether or not to enroll their child(ren) in summer school.

A "Bad Rap"

The words “summer school” tend to stir negative thoughts. Many parents and students falsely believe that going to summer school is a bad thing. Some cite teasing as a reason for not sending their child to summer school. Others think that their child will become overwhelmed without a summer break.

In truth, research has shown that students who do not participate in any school – related activities during a two – month summer break can lose up to three months of the previous year’s learning! Teachers always include nearly a month’s worth of “re-teaching” (reviewing the previous year’s content) in their back - to - school lesson planning.

An increasing number of school districts are adopting year-round academic calendars to combat this issue. So far, this has been shown to be an effective way to prevent the “summer brain drain”.

The Summer School Decision

There are several reasons to consider enrolling your child in summer school, whether or not teachers recommend it. Below are several reasons to consider enrolling your child, summer brain drain aside:

1. Small class sizes. The stigma of summer school can work to your advantage! Since many parents are reluctant to enroll their children in summer school, classes are usually small. This will give your child more opportunity for one-on-one instruction.

2. Catching Up. Educational research has shown that students can make up no more than ½ of a year’s worth of learning during the school year if they are behind. For example, if your 6th grade child consistently scores at the 3rd grade level in Math, it will take them six (6!) years to catch up without summer school and/ or outside tutoring! Summer school helps students catch up much more quickly.

3. Enrichment Opportunities. All students can benefit from taking classes they like or are doing exceptionally well in. If your child consistently scores at least one grade level above their current grade in a subject, consider asking school administrators or teachers if they offer any upper-level classes your child can take during the summer. (Ex: If your 6th grader consistently scores at the 7th grade level or higher, enrichment is definitely recommended for them!)

4. Peer Socialization. Children who are living with any social anxiety issues could benefit from summer school. Shy students won’t have a complex social structure to navigate due to the smaller class sizes. Often, this relaxes them and their peer interactions increase more so than during the regular school year. It can also ease back-to-school anxiety.

5. Maintaining a Routine. Children living with ADD/ ADHD, Autism, and Dyslexia can benefit from the routine summer school provides. The start of a new school year can be especially stressful for students living with these educational differences after a long summer break. Summer school provides a way for them to continue following a school routine in a more relaxed environment. You may find that fall, back-to-school transitions are much easier for your child if they attended several weeks of summer school.

Take some time to consider enrolling your child in summer school. Instead of waiting for the annual “summer school – enrolling now!” letter, empower yourself by considering your child’s unique situation and approaching their teachers instead. Gather evidence (i.e. test scores, teacher reports, report cards, etc.) to help you accurately gauge your student’s academic and social strengths and weaknesses before deciding. Then, if you choose to enroll your child, you can begin talking to summer school teachers to help your student get the most out of their experience.


While summer school tends to bring about some negative feelings, it is anything but a negative experience. Students lose up to three months of the previous year’s learning unless they complete at least some education – related activities during the summer. Summer school can fill this need and prevent the “summer brain drain”. Parents should consider enrolling their child in summer school to take advantage of smaller class sizes and enrichment opportunities. Students who are at least one grade level behind in a subject can make above – average gains to help them catch up much more quickly. Students living with ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, and Autism can also benefit from the routine summer school provides. Parents should gather academic information from various sources before making the summer school decision.

I hope you found this article helpful. Please take a minute to leave a comment, Like this post on Facebook, or Tweet the post via Twitter using the buttons on the right side of my blog page. If you have questions about whether a tutor is right for you, or if you would like advice for your unique situation, feel free to E-mail me using the “E-mail Jeff S.” button on my Wyzant tutor home page. If you have a topic suggestion, please leave it in the Comment section below.


Outstanding! Thank you for putting 'it' in words. Many parents need to read this to better understand and appreciate the summer months.

Natalie - Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this article. I chose this topic because my daughter benefited so much from just a few weeks of summer school. I hope that word spreads, too! Have a Great Day! Jeff S.

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