The Countdown for Summer

For the first time in 3 years, we are hoping to have a ‘normal’ summer. Of course, the word “normal” has many meanings and is construed differently for each family. There will be a few wrinkles each week but your pace can be a little slower and your anxiety to get everything done can be more relaxed. Here are our bullet points for summer. See if our countdown matches yours. 

10) Plan fun Activities for you and for the family.

Go to museums like the Tellus Museum, Fernbank Science Museum, Atlanta History Center or even go to a Braves game. Check the weekly local events. You may find something interesting! Have a family game night or make a carnival for your street. Look for lightning bugs or pick topics from a bowl and each member of the family must present a three minute talk to the family on a subject of interest. The kids can generate topics for sure. 

9) Visit places in your city you have not seen or go back to the ones that you have always loved. 

Whether it is The Atlanta Botanical Garden or bicycling on the beltline and getting ice cream, be sure you pick one place to go each week for family time. Our city is filled with interesting places like Oakland Cemetery or watching planes take off at Dobbins Air Force Base. Make a list with your family ahead of time and check off what you accomplished. 

8) Read. We continue to stress the importance of reading individually, as a family or as a book club. Do a “summer reading challenge” for everyone in your family. Each school has a reading list so be sure at least three to four books are read. 

 Here are a few websites to check out: 

American Library Association’s Notable Books for Children

The Georgia Children’s Book Awards

American Library Association’s Great Websites for Kids

Tome Student Literacy Society

James Patterson’s Read Kiddo Read

We think it’s great for parents to model reading too! Here are some of our favorite recent reads if you’re looking for ideas for yourself:


Hello Beautiful (Ann Napolitano)

Hula (Jasmin Hakes)

Demon Copperhead (Barbara Kingsolver)

I Have Some Questions For You (Rebecca Makkai)

Iron Lake (William Kent Krueger)


Solito (Javier Zamora)

These Precious Days (Ann Patchett)

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (Bono)

It Was An Ugly Couch Anyway (Elizabeth Passarella)

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through Seven Transitions Into Adulthood (Lisa Damour)

7) Discover podcasts or interesting areas of passion. Develop a special interest and listen or read about it. Here are a few podcasts we recommend:


This American Life

Raising Boys & Girls 

The Ezra Klein Show

Raising Good Humans with Dr. Aliza

What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel

6) Create a school corner for the younger kids and academic review for the older kids. 

While we want summer to be summer, we still think it is good to do a little academic practice. Have a special spot for the younger kids where all their markers, scissors, coloring sheets and workbooks can be placed. Each week the children should go to the work corner 3 times a week and work for about 15-30 minutes, depending on the child’s age. You can be the teacher or have the child be the teacher. Have fun activities for the kids to do. 

From 5th grade through middle school, your children should take the time to do review packets in math, math workbooks, read from reading lists and write in a journal. We can help you structure your summer work if you need us. 

For high school be sure reading and math packets are completed. Summer school classes are available as well. 

5) Play outside: from sports, to play, to walks and trails, being out in nature is key. 

We know that play is so important to the development of a child. Whether it is swimming, bicycle riding or just throwing the ball, being outdoors stimulates brain development and mental health. Be sure some sort of outside play is factored in several times a week, if not every day.  

4 Friendships and socialization: No matter what age, we all need to interact with others.

We know how important friends are in our lives. We want you to be sure the kids have friends over, go to different camps, play with neighbors and just be together doing structured or unstructured activities. You need this time too for your sanity. 

3) Clean out and organize your house. Create a “give away time” where everyone in the house declutters.

Take a couple days to go through the toys, books or things to give to others. Have a contest within the family to see who can pick out the most items to give away. Then as a family, take it to a shelter or a thrift shop to give to others. It will make the children realize that others need so many things we often take for granted.  

2) Serve your community. It does not matter what age you are but the act of giving to others must be reinforced. Summer is a great time to instill values. 

We are never too young or too old to serve others. Find a place where the children can give their time for a few hours of service. Whether it is The Atlanta Food Bank, Atlanta Humane Society or, volunteering at the school library to shelve books, all ages must learn the art of giving back! 

1) And last but not least, it is time to hire us as your educational consultant to analyze your child’s next step. 


Take a minute to think about the fall. If you are thinking of exploring another school; if you want us to analyze the report cards; if you need a therapist or just need to talk about your concerns, we are here to help you. We believe in you and trust your instincts but talking through your concerns will often solidify your thoughts and decisions. Please call or email us and we will make time for you because we care about families. 

One more important point: this is the summer of trying to minimize device use! Official reports and studies are in and there is an overuse of technology, which creates lack of focus, anxiety, depression and decreased socialization. All ages in your home should unplug this summer. Make a family goal and talk about technology.

We are now taking clients for the 2023-2024 school cycle. We want to help you navigate the process and help you with your family’s needs. We are here to help. 

Of course, send our newsletter to friends and family. We want to hear from you. 

Our best for a wonderful summer,

Barbara, Betsy, Fontaine and Margo 

Education Connection Advisors