While it may still seem like a ways off--especially since we just finished spring break--summer vacation is on the horizon. And that can only mean one thing: no school!
Well, not exactly.
Of course you won’t have your regular course schedule, you won’t be eating square pizza in the cafeteria or talking about the latest YouTube video, BUT you will want to continue studying even after that final bell rings.
What does “studying” mean in the context of summer vacation? Not necessarily something as boring as it sounds. See, the true beauty of summer vacation is that you have a few months during which you get to determine what you learn. It's like a free-for-all for education. In other words, you can perfectly balance relaxation with keeping your mind sharp. You don’t want your brain to feel like it’s melted ice cream when you come back to school in the fall, right? (Ice cream does taste good, but still!)
So now the question is posed to you: what’s your middle school summer study plan? I ask you middle schoolers because you are in a transitioning stage--too old for plain day camps, too young for complex research--so often you have to figure out what works best for you without much help. High schoolers have it easy: they can take summer school to eliminate unnecessary classes during the regular school year, they can sign up for research at a university, or they can do a variety of academic programs.
This is not to say that these resources are lacking for middle schoolers, but sometimes we forget that you are on the threshold of high school, where sharpening certain skills later on often gets lost in the whirlwind of keeping up with school work. These two or three beautiful summers in middle school are perfect times for your budding mind to make the right preparations, to “level up” so you can fight the evil boss monster that is the freshman year of high school (and beyond).
What are some ways that you can tackle summer? Consider these model students:
Holistic Harry’s mind wanders to every subject, unhappy with learning one fact or concept without diving into several more. He masters a mathematical formula and then looks up the biography of the individual who created it. He learns about a period in history and reads a novel set in that time. He loves synthesis and combining disciplines, so for summer he decides to learn topics, concepts, and skills that have escaped him during the school year, that he simply didn’t have enough time to pursue. These skills won’t necessarily be needed on his next algebra quiz or American history test, but they will give him important links and educational foundation to tackle any new problem that comes his way.
Follow this model if you want to expand your knowledge to areas that you normally wouldn’t consider during your school year. This can be fun, kind of like test runs to see if you like something that may end up being your college major. It's about experimenting!
Master Mitra LOVES math. She can’t get enough problems from her teachers at school, and she has already tested two grade levels higher than her classmates. Mitra does word problems online, watches tutorials on YouTube, and goes to math club. She is definitely STEM-minded, and there is little doubt that she will pursue a future career in STEM. Her summer will focus on reinforcing skills in algebra, geometry, and even expand to pre-calculus and calculus. Not only that, she will apply her mathematical knowledge to science subjects, such as physics and chemistry, building her knowledge and linking it to multiple fields. She will go to camps, study on her own, and develop home projects.
Follow this model if you want to strengthen what you are already good at and to make yourself better than the competition. This can be a great way to really develop a deep background in a particular subject, especially if you want to be working at Ivy-League levels in the future.
Catch-Up Carly is a good student, but she has been struggling with a particular subject, and now she wants to spend summer getting as much help on it as possible. She plans to attend private tutoring, go to academic camps, and practice at home. Carly may have moved from another country and now needs to build her English skills or she may have had a bad experience in one of her classes during the school year. Whatever the case, she is excited to fill in any gaps that may be lingering and that will be really necessary to eliminate before high school.
Follow this model if you think you need to review lessons learned or develop skills in an area that most of your peers have mastered. Be honest with yourself: recognize what needs improvement and work to fix it.
Whatever model you decide to follow carries the same attitude: treat summer as a lesson in self-discovery and self-care. Do your best to balance fun with fitness--both mental and physical.
And, if you are uncertain about how best to tackle this important time in your life, or if your parents want more help figuring out the best plan as you prepare for high school--and college!--then let us at B2A help with your summer study plan. We have academic camps, enrichment classes, preview classes, and private tutoring all focused on fitting whichever model you decide to use. Don’t let summer vacation mean summer brain melt!