By the time you read this, classrooms throughout the School District of Palm Beach County will have emptied for the final time this school year. Seniors left the confines of their educational home for the past four years several weeks ago. Now, the rest of the student population follows suit, if only for 10 weeks.
The beginning of June means a time of change for area students, as well as parents, who no longer have the school system to keep their children occupied while providing an education. But just because there has been a temporary paradigm shift in the day-to-day living arrangements of families doesn’t mean the end of the world as we know it. In fact, it is important that students not lose their educational focus just because the structured class setting has stopped until August. At its best, summer break is not a time for laziness, but rather a time for a different type of less-structured learning.
While students might not be in the classroom, many of them will be keeping busy. Some will be taking on life challenges overseas as part of religious mission trips. Others will be at summer camp, either nearby or far away. Some might be at general interest camps, while others might participate in a more focused program, such as a sports, debate or band camp.
Some will be working at area restaurants, community youth programs or on the beaches. Summer employment is a two-way street in Florida. There are a great number of young adults looking for part-time jobs, but many of the traditional places that hire seasonal workers don’t do so in this area because Florida’s summer population is lighter than the winter “snowbird” season. Still, there are options, including businesses that coordinate summer youth employment opportunities.
This summer also offers the politically inclined the chance to volunteer with a political campaign. As the national election approaches, there will be a greater need for candidates to get out the vote locally, and aligning with a political campaign is one way for young adults to get real-world experience in the political arena. Summer is also an opportunity for family bonding. Many parents arrange time off from their place of employment for a week or two over the summer months to go out of town with their children.
But crucially, students should also continue their education over the summer months. There are young adult reading programs at area libraries and religious institutions, as well as just allowing yourself the time to relax and pick up a book not assigned by a teacher. If you are on the computer, try a game designed to boost math skills in a fun and engaging way. Keep a journal of your summer activities to build on writing skills, not to mention for posterity.
So here’s to the start of the 2016 summer break… May it be exciting, fun and educational for students everywhere!