Let’s think about a child that struggles to focus at school. He feels bad about himself because his grades are poor and he spends his afternoons doing hours of homework because he couldn’t get it done at school. This poor guy doesn’t get to grow his strengths because he is spending all of his time and energy on his vulnerabilities. Summer is his chance to focus on his strengths and to equip him with the self-esteem he will need to return to school in the fall. Maybe he loves fishing. Attending a fishing camp would make him feel excitement and motivation. He would have to pay close attention to learn how to tie a certain knot and then engage in trial and error until he succeeds in tying the knot. He has to be aware of his surroundings for safety. He has to stay quiet in order not to scare the fish away. These are all skills that will help him in school (and in life) and he will feel good about working on them because he is engaging in an activity that makes him happy.
So when you are deciding on your summer plan, pause if you start thinking, “what will catch him/her up academically?” and change that thought to, “what will make him/her happy?”. You’ll be pleased to find out that the latter thought will have a much more dramatic impact on your child’s academic future.