In order to get camp tutoring “right,” we needed to be really thoughtful about the needs of each student and family. Because students are enrolled in many different types of schools across the country, expectations vary. For example, some schools have required summer reading or math work while others do not. It’s also important to find the right balance regarding expectations for work between sessions. The keys to a successful summer camp tutoring partnership are differentiation and adaptability. One size does not fit all so it’s critical to design unique solutions for unique learners.
Tutoring at camp provides important structure for students with summer academic goals. Even if campers don’t read independently or do math practice throughout the week, the structured one-on-one time with a teacher each week will definitely help to maintain and further develop skills. Students who practice between sessions will make faster progress during the summer, but an intensive private tutoring session on its own is much better than the alternative—doing nothing.
While we want all of our students to read independently at camp as a minimum expectation each day, we also understand that campers have a full day of activities with little quiet time. Planning sessions that are dependent on a student doing homework assignments in between is a serious challenge at a residential camp and requires a student to be intrinsically motivated, organized, and self-disciplined. These are certainly behaviors we want to encourage, but it’s important to remember that this may not happen successfully each week. It’s also true that not every family wants their child to work throughout the week, while others wish homework time was strictly enforced at camp. Finding this balance for each student and family is really important, and it also needs to be achieved within the structure and resources of each particular camp, which may require some compromises.
Despite these challenges, our team is AMAZED at how amenable our students are to tutoring at camp. They arrive smiling and work really hard during the session to practice whatever skills we’re targeting. Most are reading in between sessions and the homework has generally been completed when requested. We think camp provides a terrific opportunity for campers to manage this work independently and to be accountable to their tutor without a parent’s involvement. It is all about balancing relaxation and fun with enough academics to avoid the summer slide.By Brad Hoffman, M.S.Ed.
Board Certified Educational Planner and Learning Specialist
My Learning Springboard, Inc.