Phase IV—the Depths of Summer

I often think of the school year in five different phases. Last October, I wrote about entering Phase II, describing a culture of happiness and positivity in children as the foundation for a successful school year.
 
With the summer months upon us, we are now deep in Phase IV. At school, this means cleaning, repairing, creating schedules, and generally preparing for the late August rush of school.
 
At home, this means relaxing and taking time away from the normal routine. This could take the form of summer camp, playing at the beach, or visiting family.
 
Certainly, completing summer reading for school should be on the menu! Bigger still, though, is the idea of reading for pleasure and fun. Reading outside of a summer assignment or school schedule takes kids to another place, stimulating their imaginations and providing opportunities for them to daydream and wonder without time constraints.
 
It’s also important to note there is an ample supply of YA (Young Adult) novels that appeal to adult interests. Consider reading a YA novel at a pace parallel to your child’s. I would not recommend sharing one book—we all know emerging teens need space—rather procure two books and read separately. Then, when the moment arises, such as in the car, strike up short conversation with your child about character choices and thematic developments. Adolescents will respond better in short bursts than in sit-down conversations. Below is a list of 10 YA novels you might consider sharing over the summer:
 
 
I also recommend Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Immerse yourself in the world of middle school life—if you dare—and experience what it means to feel different.
 
In addition to Wonder, I also recommend The Life of Pi, by Yann Martel. At the core, it’s a novel about how to adapt and cope in the most difficult situations and a wonderful tale of hope and resilience.
 
Finally, summer is a time to reflect upon the bigger picture and the changing needs of your pre-teen. As I often say, being a parent (as well as teaching Kindergarten!) is the hardest job out there, so we must share ideas and resources in search of raising happy, healthy children. Below is a link from Upworthy worth considering.
 
 
Have a terrific remainder of the summer, and we’ll see you in late August!
 
- Kyle
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Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.