How to Balance School Work Over Summer Break

As summer hits, a common question educators receive from parents is whether or not they should have their child do school work over summer break.

Let me start by saying this is one of those “all about balance” situations. Yes, a break is absolutely necessary at times and indeed can be very good to allow your child to regroup, decompress and destress.

On the flip side, maintaining some structure and expecting your child to do some school work during the Summer is equally as significant. Too much of a break requires a lot of catch up in the Fall.

This includes:

  • Academics
  • Adjusting to expectations
  • The habit of completing work again.

This may sound less than helpful so far, but let me assure you that the tips below can help you find this balance.

The goal is to ensure that your child does indeed get a much deserved and needed break. But also to not have the Summer slide.

You want your child to maintain all that he has learned during the school year to start the following school year off where he left off, rather than behind.


How to Balance School Work Over Summer Break


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#1 Designate Break Time vs. School Work Time Over Summer Break – 

The first thing you want to do is determine what school work and breaks will look like over the Summer. 

This can be as simple as:

  • An hour of work per day Monday-Friday 
  • One week of vacation per month 

Or it can be as detailed as a daily schedule with some “off” days thrown in. You have to decide what works best for you and your child. Make sure you do include whole days off. 

Days off are necessary to ensure that your children “feel” the break. Keep in mind that this will look different for children of different ages and those with different strengths and needs.


# 2 Set Expectations – 

After you determine what the work/break times schedule will look like, the next most significant piece to finding balance is setting expectations. This will ensure as minimal push-back from your child as possible. 

Once you have the schedule defined, talk to your child about it. It is important to have a conversation with your child regardless of his age. 

If you share up front what the expectations are, it will help everyone. The less uncertainty, the better.

It’s also a great idea to keep a visual schedule of this, even if it’s as simple as a piece of paper that lists the “work time.” Your child can check it off each day after it’s complete. 

 A visual schedule will help everyone stick to the plan and serve as a friendly reminder. Remember, you want to achieve overall balance. 


#3 Keep the Work Fun – 

Keep in mind that work can still be fun! In fact, it’s Summer so it SHOULD be fun! 

If you need your children to work independently, provide them with an educational game to play, or have them read to each other. You can even have them “teach” each other if that works with their strengths, needs, and skillsets. 

Of course, throwing in some worksheet activities or those that mirror school work is more than okay. Just keep in mind that it’s okay if the work doesn’t look like typical school work over Summer break. 

The point is, any work they do is better than none at all! 

Another way to keep things fun is to work in rewards and “bonus” days off. 

You could reward for many reasons, such as…

  • When x amount of work is completed 
  • All work completed by a specific day
  • Getting work completed without being reminded

Rewards could be a day off or choosing a fun activity to do together. Any way to motivate your child in the Summer is a good one!


#4 End of Summer Shift – 

The final piece to keep in mind is that you will want to adjust the balance of school work as Summer draws to a close. As the start of the school year moves closer, you will want to add more structured work time to get your child adjusted to the school year quicker. 

I am certainly not suggesting that you have your child work for 5 hours per day. But in the 2-3 weeks, before the school year officially starts, you’ll want to add more work that looks like schoolwork. 

You may also want to increase the expectations a bit. For example, if you only required your child to do one hour per day for three days per week, increase it to five days per week with 20 minutes or independent reading each night.


Additional Resources for School Work Over Summer Break

We can’t promise that hiccups won’t happen or that you’ll child will be in love with this idea. We can guarantee that these tips will help ease the plan and routine into your Summer break.

Hopefully, you will indeed find the balance of school work over Summer break with fun free time. Below are additional resources for having successful school work over the Summer break. 

We look forward to hearing how these tips worked for you and any others you’ve tried! Good luck and happy working AND having fun this Summer!


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It is important to provide learning opportunities throughout the Summer. The key is to find a balance. Here is how to balance school work over Summer break.

Diana Chase, M.S.

Diana Chase, M.S.

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