Email Barbara Levy at and she will answer your individual educational questions about your children with tips for making your summer better

Here are 10 questions you may want the answer to: Do you have similar issues?

1 How do I keep up the learning for the summer?
Children forget everything in the summer. When home, be sure to include schoolwork in some shape and form depending upon the age of your child at least three times a week. From kindergarten on, you can build the school corner. Be sure to make a special work space for the summer filled with workbooks, art project supplies, and a journal for writing. Before 5, you should be reading daily to your child and have art project days. Middle schoolers need to spend time reading, writing and building vocabulary… Once in high school, the focus should continue to be in reading for content and enjoyment. Summer school is definitely available for middle school and high school.

2 Summer is so short- What activities do you suggest?
Every age is important once children are reading on their own, but review workbooks in math and reading comprehension are mandatory. Always sign up at the public library for reading activities; read a new book at least every two weeks. Be sure your child writes in a journal or draws pictures of creative places or things they have seen or done. A sample journal page is included at the end for your review. As the children get older perhaps 5th grade and above, a vocabulary book or website is advised to build a rich vocabulary. Our children lack strong vocabulary skills especially using new vocab in sentences that they understand.

3 Do my children need tutoring?
Tutoring is overused and overemphasized. It is needed if your teacher suggests it; if your relationship with your child may be compromised when you work with them and/or enrichment or remedial work is advised. Tutoring companies are in the business to make money so interview who is going to work with your child. There are good camp programs available that stress enriched reading skills and/or empowering children to think and abstract. Check your local schools for interesting programs.

4 What should my child be reading?
This is always a super question. There are booklists posted online, in libraries, at your school and often in a summer packet. The bookstores also have good book tables for kids. Please go with your child to pick out books. Give them variety: a biography, nonfiction, adventure, mystery, science fiction or fantasy. Children take their cues from you. Have a specific reading time where everyone in the family is reading daily.

5 What areas of education are really important?
The most of important areas are of course math, reading and writing. However getting your children to write may be difficult so get creative. Perhaps your child may be an artist. Let them draw and do an art project and then write about the drawing. Perhaps your child may be an athlete. Focus on a sport and have them write about it or make up math problems surrounding stats of a certain team. If you take a trip, when you get home have your child write about the trip or draw a picture. Writing on a computer is also acceptable so let them build power points, write books, do research and then formulate a project with specific questions.

6 What kinds of other summer programs are out there that I should look at?
There are many programs sponsored by different schools that have not filled up yet. From art camps to drama, to circus camps to even science skills- go to the newspaper, online directories of camps, to your friends and ask what have their children have done that they like to recommend. You can find museums, theatres, botanical gardens, religious institutions, athletic departments, colleges, and even malls are sponsoring activities for kids. The costs vary but the neighborhood areas often sponsor free camps, Bible schools at churches, movie camps and culinary chef’s camps, reading and math camps and/ or a chess camp. Pick a camp that your child may like from cheerleading, to soccer, to lacrosse, to sleep away. The activities have certainly increased and so do the prices. As your child gets older, your child could host the camp but that is a major responsibility and an adult must be present at all times.

7 How much TV do I let my child watch?
In the summer, we often have more down time. Children have a tendency to become couch potatoes. This is the time to limit TV to an hour a day. At the start of the week, pick out the shows with your child if in elementary school; talk about the reality shows with your middle schooler and what they like to watch and hopefully by high school your children are working, taking summer school, and are busy.

8 What constitutes internet use and how much?
This is an everchanging area to monitor. There are wonderful games, internet sites and learning opportunities online but the computer can become an overused and addictive device. Treat the computer like TV and develop a plan of what your children are spending time doing. There are many websites that your children should not be using. Please spend the time scrolling through what they have been watching. To find good sites, ask your present school to send a list home of game sites, ask the librarians at public libraries, educational sites like Scholastic, and more even, mom websites- you will find wonderful games that are challenging and reinforce skills.

9 What are critical thinking skills and what age should start working on those?
These special thinking skills can be started as young as 3 years. Ask questions that have substance such as why do our plants need water? Why are pools dangerous to all people? Why are swimming lessons important? As the children get older, they need to learn to analyze and synthesize material. After a child has read a book, ask questions that are thoughtful in nature; why did the main character give away all his belongings or what does it mean to be miser in the Midas Touch. Stretching the brain is one of the keys to building future thinkers.

10 If you were me, what three things should you remember about summer?

Sample Journal Pages: parent writes a topic and then the child responds
Serious Questions: Why do squirrels collect nuts?
Fun Questions: Why did the worm get lost in the mud?
Facts: Research three questions about the Orioles (baseball or even birds)
History: Why is Eleanor Roosevelt so important?
Game Page: Make your own game with dice and draw it out and write up the rules
Just be fun and creative!!!!