If you were to write a "Summer Slump Survival Guide" containing 5 tips for students, what would it say?
1. Read for thirty minutes a day.
Even students who love to read during the school year can find it easy to forget during the summer, which presents distractions like camp, sports, or just hanging out with friends by the pool. So why cram your summer reading at the end of the summer when you can make the process painless by setting aside a half hour (or an hour or two!) a day, just for reading. Go to your local library (it's probably air-conditioned!) and pick out books you have for summer reading as well as fun books. For middle- and high-school students I recommend The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
2. Start a business or work hard at a summer job.
What better way to practice math skills than by counting $$ at your lemonade stand, lawn-mowing service, or ice-cream-scooping job? It might not be glamorous, but it's an excellent way to use your school-year lessons in a real-world setting.
3. Go to a museum.
Your city or town might have a cool museum you haven't seen since that one fifth-grade field trip. Make it your goal to go learn something new at a nearby art gallery, science museum, or historical site. Ask a tour guide or museum employee what weird stories they have about the artists featured or the historical place itself--they know all the quirks, mysteries, and even ghostly hauntings.
4. Learn a new hobby or skill.
Not everything you do to "avoid the slump" has to be totally academic. Keep your learning skills sharp by picking up cooking, knitting, woodworking, model-train-conducting candlestick-making, whatever strikes your fancy.
5. Watch a movie or TV show that makes you think.
Staring at a screen doesn't have to be a bad thing! I like movies with explosions and fast driving as much as the next girl, but summer blockbusters aren't always what keep you thinking critically. Watching a well-written TV show like Mad Men can be just as fun, intriguing, and scholarly as reading a great novel. Think hard about what you're watching--try to see patterns, think about a character's motives, notice how the directors shoot particular scenes. Check out The West Wing for a smart (albeit idealistic) lesson on the United States government. Try a movie about an exciting moment in history or watch a documentary about a current social or political issue. If you're more interested in science, that Discovery Channel show Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman is fascinating! Challenge yourself to consider the biases of documentary filmmakers--do you agree with them? Could you use their arguments to convince your friends?
Most importantly, relax and have a good time so you can come back to school more prepared than ever to learn and do well.