Summertime1In today’s world, there is an ever-greater pressure for more. We see it in youth sports programs, a growing move toward year-round schooling, college entrance exam prep programs and everything in between. As a Classical Christian school seeking to prepare students for college and beyond, this is not a topic that we can afford to avoid.

What should be our approach to offering summer school classes?  There are always more great books to read, more advanced science courses to take, more complex math problems to solve and more essays or research papers that could be written.  Where does it stop?

We are told three times in the Bible not to “boil the kid in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19 and 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21).  Douglas Wilson has suggested in The Case for Classical Christian Education that the principle is this: “That which is intended by God to be the means of sustaining life must not be changed into an instrument of death.”  He applies that to education, warning us not to make the classroom a cauldron.  If we are not careful, that is exactly what we will do with an emphasis on “Summer School”.

So what is summer school for?  At Wilson Hill Academy, we suggest two profitable roles for summer classes.

The first is one of preparation (or in some cases, perhaps, remediation).  For a variety of reasons, some students struggle to find their stride in a Classical Christian environment.  This is especially true if they are attempting to jump into it mid-stream without having had a solid foundation laid in the Grammar School years.  For students entering grades 6-9 we offer a one-week Study Skills class to help prepare students for online learning.  For students entering grades 9-12 we offer a more advanced two-week course focusing on Digital Tools for the Classical Scholar.  Both of these courses will reap benefits across the full spectrum of classes.  Christmas in July, with its focus on sharpening reading skills is another example of a general preparatory course.  For more specific preparation, we also offer Jumpstart Latin and Jumpstart Logic.  These classes lay a foundation for required Latin and Logic courses, but may also be appropriate to refresh and reinforce material from a previous year’s study.

The second is one of enrichment — exposing the student to a deeper study of a narrow topic that might not fit into a more “normal” study progression. Examples offered this year include Robotics and Engineering Design, Creative Nonfiction Writing (Telling your Story) and Get to Know J.R.R. Tolkien.  Of course, you will be mastering the tools of learning in these courses too, even as you are enjoying their application.

So if you are wondering whether summer school is for you (or your child), beware of just piling on more and more work.  Take a break.  Read a book. Go for a hike.  Go to the pool.  But if love of learning is also beginning to describe you, take advantage of some of the creative summer learning experiences at Wilson Hill Academy too.  Check out all of our Summer School offerings here.