The Parent’s Notebook
Proactive Parents Share Strategies to Prevent Brain Drain:
PN asked two parents who are also educators to share their formula for keeping students motivated, practice what was learned while enjoying new opportunities for learning during the long vacation. While the debate continues about shortening the summer vacation and changing the school schedule, proactive parents are finding ways to nurture their child’s brain while making learning fun.
Makini Campbell, mother of two who has taught elementary, middle and high schools and is currently a Guidance Counselor shares:
· The first two weeks of vacation I allow them to actually take a break from routine which I believe is important. My youngest son, a very hands-on learner, attends a more traditional school and I saw that he was getting burnt out with the routine. So he welcomed this break.
· Summer Reading is required at most schools. I sometimes read the books along with them and have weekly discussions.
· Reviewing past math concepts and applying them to real-life situations.
· Setting aside 1-2 hours of academic time during the summer months is a must, maintaining consistency while on vacation.
· Making every trip I take with them an opportunity to learn.
· Using their intelligences to foster learning. Dakari, 16, traveled on the USA basketball team to Spain and Lithuania. Since he is a verbal/linguistic learner, I will have him create a story of his trip and all that he learned and share it with family. Kamani, 12, is a businessman that loves money. At the age of 5 he opened up a lemonade stand with $5. He went shopping for the ingredients, learned about materials, receipts, measurement and profit (doubled $10).
· Team up with other parents to see what they are doing. I noticed when my children were with other likeminded families, including academics during the summer, it wasn’t so stressful.
· Museum, parks, volunteer projects, library programs, etc. are all great activities to combat brain drain.
· My youngest will attend a two-week camp, “The Paul Robeson Freedom School,” where the curriculum includes electoral voting, culinary arts, sustainable food, education, culture, civil rights and self-knowledge. He will be challenged to problem-solve with his peers. I will volunteer my time to this camp by using my own intelligence.
· For parents who work, set up some quiet time in the evening if your child is not getting it during the day.
Earline Mensah, mother of six, homeschooled her children preparing them for
college entry. She’s currently homeschooling her youngest, 13. She shares:
Interesting and Inexpensive Things To Do With Children In NYC During The Summer
· Read aloud with children; complete math lessons in math books and assigned history lessons in history textbooks
· Weekly vocabulary tests at least two grades above grade level
· Excursions to various beaches, especially South Beach in Staten Island
· Visits to museums, especially The National Museum of the American Indian ( which is free)
· Ferry rides into Staten Island, and explorations of points of interest in Staten Island, such as The Children’s Museum, and Historic Richmond Town
· Walks across the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, and explorations of the communities close to these bridges
· Visits to library @ Grand Army Plaza
· Tram rides into Roosevelt Island, and explorations of the island via bus and walking excursions
· Early morning walks/jogging in Prospect Park, visits to Lefferts Homestead and playgrounds
· Visits to The Bronx Zoo, especially on Wednesdays, suggested donation day.
· Walking and exploring our ever-changing neighborhoods
Readers are invited to share your repertoire of summer activities with OTP readers. Sharing builds community and our children desperately need community to flourish.
***ACT With Art for Kids,
ages 6 – 12 – Saturdays 1 -3pm in July –FREE at Weeksville Heritage Center, 1698 Bergen St., Info: Patrice Payne @917-930-5182 or email:
Opportunity to discover or nourish the Visual/Spatial Intelligence.
***Children’s Freedom Retreat,
sponsored by the United African Movement, provides opportunities for personal growth and discovery for ages 7-15 at Mountain Valley Resort, through August 21. For info call 917-514-6513 or 718-834-9034 to qualify for a full scholarship.
*Nourish the Naturalist intelligence.
The Wiz, presented by Boys & Girls High School Drama Club, directed by Kenthedo Robinson, Wednesday and Thursday, July 18
th and 19th at 11am. At Boys & Girls High, 1700 Fulton St. bet. Schenectady and Utica. Students, Seniors, Day Camp participants $1 – Reg. Admission $5. Call 718-457-1700, Ext. 2290