Summer break–two words that often have a different meaning for parents and for students. Parents are often concerned that their students will dive into sleeping through the day and video games, while ignoring summer reading. Students seeking to relax will meet a compromise with parents by participating in camps and leadership activities that flex muscles, which may not be used regularly during the school year. (And, eventually–sometimes in the last weeks before summer ends–summer reading will be completed.)
The unstructured time of a summer vacation lets students more deeply explore interests—academic or social. These summer explorations give students greater understanding of their talents, and can serve as a spark for a future college major. Extracurricular activities also provide college admissions officers a broader understanding of the student, without having to write another essay.
Parents see a longer view of a student’s life, based on the wisdom of experience, and can be useful in balancing a student’s desire to live in the now. Both perspectives are needed for the student’s continued success; yet, can create a contentious debate in the meantime. (Even then, the conversations and willingness of both sides to continue talking can build analytical skills and consideration for differing views, which will serve everyone much longer than a summer camp.)