Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4-Day School Week--What Can You Do For Your Child?

All over the United States, schools are cutting down to 4-day school weeks in order to keep teacher's jobs.
Nearly 1 in 7 school boards nationwide is considering whether to drop a day, according to a recent survey by the American Association of School Administrators. This has started to be quite a controvesial subject in many states. According to the Time Magazine: "Many experts believe that, if anything, American youth should be spending more days in school than they already are. Most states mandate a minimum of 180 school days a year. That's three weeks shorter than nearly every industrialized nation in Europe and Asia, where pupils regularly outperform U.S. students in math, science and reading. In China and Korea, for example, school is in session more than 220 days a year."

So what then, if you live in a school district that has decided to shorten the school week? Many parents may also be counting on the time their kids are in schools to work, run errands, and so on. Here are some suggestions on what you may do to continue to push your kids academically and maybe even still maintain some free time for yourself:

1. Organize a home-study group for that one day within your neighborhood. Have parents take turn hosting each home-study group. A good size will be anywhere from 4-6 children in a group. Figure out lesson topics together before-hand and assign the respective parent(s) to their topics. You will then incorporate homework time, reading time, lesson time, quiz time, and snack time in a 2-3 hour session. After that, it might be fun to allow the kids another 2 hours or so of play time together. If you plan it right, you will only have the kids over your house once every 4-6 weeks.

2. If you can afford it, hiring a tutor for either a private session or a group session with your child's friends will be a good way for them to be ahead of the system as well as to review what they learnt in school. Additional skills such as creative writing, foreign language or science projects might be fun extra lessons your child can have on that fifth day. The cost of a tutor can vary from $12-$100 an hour depending on experience and skill level.

3. Engage your child in extracurricular activities on that fifth day. Enroll your child in dance class, sewing class, sports, riding lessons and so on. I would try to focus on excelling on their subjects for the first four days of the school week if you decide to go this route. This way, your child won't be too tired after a long day of school and will actually excel in their extracurricular activites better.

I truly believe that a child will receive the best form of education a home. You are more likely than any other teacher or mentor to want your child to succeed in life. Sure, a 4-day school week may be detrimental; however, if you plan it right and take advantage of this extra day, your child may actually be benefitting so much more than simply attending school on a Friday, often which is a more relaxed day at school anyways.

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