Summer 2020: Another unprecedented experience
Over the last few months, we have all heard the word “unprecedented” an unprecedented number of times. If we did not know what the word meant before, surely we do now. With the COVID-19 virus still in our midst, the Summer of 2020 will not be business as usual. Many summer camps, programs, and even vacation Bible schools will not be operating this year. The programs that will be offered will probably look quite a bit different than in the past, with smaller group sizes, social distancing, and concerns about sanitizing everything. This could end up making the programs more expensive at a time when many families are feeling real economic hardship.
The other thing that makes the summer of 2020 different from any other is the fact that most students will begin the summer after being away from their schools for over two months. By the time they get back to school in the fall, they will have been away from their classrooms for over five months. This is an unprecedented break from formal instruction. Even those schools that have made a sincere effort to help students learn remotely during the school closure, will have to acknowledge that what was offered does not replace being in school five days a week for six hours a day. Many parents are already concerned about the instruction that their children missed. They are just as concerned about previously learned skills being lost over this extended break from school.
It is more important than ever to think about ways that learning can continue to take place during the summer. This doesn’t mean that kids can’t still have fun. In some communities, libraries and museums may reopen to the public. Being out in nature offers endless opportunities for hands-on learning about biology, geology, ecosystems and other aspects of the world around us. When children show an interest in something, this can open the door for questions, research, investigations and even simple experiments to learn more. There are museums, state and national parks, and even zoos that offer virtual tours or hidden cameras that allow folks to “visit” without having to travel to those locations. There are also many educational websites with games and activities to make learning fun. You may want to ask your child’s teacher for recommendations of sites that may be especially helpful to your child.
If you don’t have the time to piece together a patchwork quilt of experiences for your child’s summer activities, there are some virtual summer camps that have done that work for you. Many places that have traditionally offered in-person programs, are now offering modified versions of their programs online. If they charged fees in the past, there will probably still be a cost to these programs. If you already had certain summer programs in mind, check with them to see what they may be offering this year.
Here is a list of some of the free virtual camps that are available during the summer of 2020. Some have already started!
- Varsity Tutors Virtual Summer Camps
- PBS Kids
- Camp Kinda
- Camp Wonderopolis
- Met Opera Global Summer Camp
- Happy Camper Live
- Reading Rockets “Start with a Book”
Whether your child is learning to read or reading to learn, reading is the most essential tool for learning. It is important to always encourage your child to read. Read to and with younger children. Use whatever works with older children. If they don’t want to read books, you can have them look up an answer to settle an argument, help do research on a possible future travel destination, read about possible careers or get information about colleges. Whatever works!
This summer will be different, but it can still be great!