When the final bell of the school year rings, it can feel liberating, exhilarating, and engender a sense of freedom. You have a whole summer to do nothing except soak up the sun and enjoy yourself.
But is that really the best you can do? While spending some quality down time is certainly important, it’s equally important to prevent your mind from wandering off completely. Spending some time every day or a couple of times a week engaged in a challenging mental activity can not only prevent the dreaded “summer slide” teachers often see in students upon their return in the fall, but it can also prove stimulating and enlightening and, yes, even fun.
If you’re looking for some activities that fit in this category, we have a bunch of suggestions for you.
- Choose one or two books you want to read and get to it. They can be novels, biographies, histories, a collection of short stories — even a series of comics or graphic novels. The point is to make the time to read them completely and thoroughly; skimming doesn’t count. Once you’re through, test your comprehension and writing skills by jotting down an alternate ending or a further adventure for the characters.
- Keep a journal with each day’s activities, noting what you liked about them and what you didn’t like and why. Did they meet your expectations? Did they make you think about something new? Do you feel energized and refreshed? Nothing is wrong to note.
- Talk to your parents about some day trips. You can go to a hands-on science museum, an art gallery, a concert, or a historical site. Write down questions you have about the place before you go, as well as your expectations for the experience. When you get home, make some follow-up notes to see if your questions were answered and your expectations met.
- Look for videos or podcasts of things that interest you and take the time to go through them. Better yet, get your parents involved. Write down a list of questions you both need to answer about what you’ve learned, and take the opportunity to explain why this is important to you. “Teach” them the value of the experience.
- Find a bunch of word or math games you can play on your tablet or phone, and spend some time every day improving your skills. You may discover you’re having more fun than you thought.
- Remind yourself that all of life is a learning experience, so even if all you do is sit by the pool and soak up the sun one day, you’re learning how to relax and appreciate the moment.
Readers: Do you have any other suggestions for summer self-education? Please leave us your comments in the section below.