By Lisa Micele, Director of College Counseling at Uni High (Urbana)
Ah… summertime. Kids look forward to it. Most parents worry about it. “What should my student be doing?” – is always the first question on parents’ minds. As we eagerly tear through park district catalogs and talk with other anxious parents, suddenly summer planning begins to feel stressful.
Let us remember that summer is a time for students to re-charge. It is also a time when I see students “reclaim their joy” and connect to lost passions or curiosities that may have been put on the back-burner during a busy school year.
What can students do over the summer? Here are some ideas and tips for you:
Talk with teachers and coaches about summer learning and enrichment activities.
They know their students best and can offer suggestions that fit students’ interests.
Take advantage of local resources.
Volunteering or checking out academic enrichment, sports camps or other artistic & life skill activities at the University of Illinois, Parkland College or the local park districts is a fabulous place to start.
Don’t forget to visit your local libraries and inquire about summer opportunities. Take time to read their bulletin boards!
Access FREE Online Learning.
Codecademy (for computer programming basics)
Learn Computer Programming.
Education articles stress the importance of young students learning to CODE! A recent TED-Ed Blog provided the following sites as a great place for young learners to become creators of innovation and not just consumers. Here are great sites for young learners to access:
Use Search Engines – to find camps based upon interest or location.
Investigate Pre-College Programs for high schoolers.
If there is particular interest for a high school student to spend time in a summer program located (and sponsored) by a particular college, you can simply Google: The College Name + HS summer camps (or Pre-College Programs.)
Work, Earn & Learn: Create a small business / Find summer employment
Babysitting, cutting lawns, walking dogs, house-sitting, making jewelry, creating greeting cards from original poetry or photography… this is all great stuff! Finding employment through the park district or local businesses are also popular. When students work and learn to manage their schedule while earning money, they also learn to budget, save, and engage with new & interesting people.
Build those life skills
Yes, summer is a great time to learn how to do laundry, practice good money management, and invest time in connecting with people face-to-face. If they have an interest in a particular major or career field, help them to connect with adults in those areas. Remember the concept of “job shadowing”? Summer is a great time for this!
Summer is time for fun, friends, family, and lazy days in the sun. In reality, it is also a time when parents are eagerly seeking organized programs and opportunities to bring some structure to those lazy days of summer. Remember to let genuine interests of the student be the roadmap for summer planning! When students connect summer opportunities with their natural curiosities, they will have a rewarding and memorable summer. Balance and fun is the goal. #YouCanDoThis
With more than 25 years of counseling experience, Lisa Micele, Director of College Counseling at the University of Illinois Laboratory School is passionate about helping students navigate the college search and application process in a thoughtful and joyful way. She is active in state and national associations, and regularly visits colleges / universities to gain first-hand knowledge of higher education options and national trends in admissions. Lisa enjoys her broader outreach to high school students & families through regular appearances on NPR’s Here and Now and the WCIA Morning Show. You can also hear Lisa on WILL’s Morning Edition with host Brian Moline. Lisa is naturally curious and passionate about K-12 educational leadership & reform, “growth mindset”, and helping others in designing their purpose-driven life. She is excited to contribute to ChambanaMoms!