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Education Matters: Keep pursuing learning this summer

by Bart Moss for the FCT

The Class of 2015 is out the door and on their way to the world of work, college or both (with a very brief stop at the beach for one last gasp of the easy life). While summer is for fun and relaxation, for many underclassmen it can be a time of enhanced academic experiences.

Look around any gym, baseball diamond or football field this summer and you will find teams practicing, working out and competing against other teams in preparation for the upcoming school year. The same needs to be happening for students in the academic side too.

Too much knowledge and too many academic skills are lost during the summer months because we feel like our children need breaks from learning and school-related activities. That kind of thinking couldn’t be more wrong. Building knowledge is like building a house. First, you start with a foundation or the structure. What we do in school is foundation & structural building. What we do on our on in the summer is adding quality to the process.

If our students and our children don’t build on the knowledge base they have developed in school – the foundation they developed all year – it will begin to crack and crumble, forcing them to start over in August and possibly making them fall further behind.

None of this is to suggest that summer shouldn’t be for fun and relaxation. No, I’m not recommending summer school for everyone (like my son thinks)!  Most summertime activities can be fun, relaxing and instructive all at the same time.

I am writing this column while standing in a two-hour line at Disney World. We have been here for two days and, while we have had fun and ridden a lot of exciting rides, my children have learned a lot about the world, technology and the future at Epcot. We experienced the Hall of Presidents at the Magic Kingdom. While it almost takes a small loan to do Disney, we’ve tried to do it as frugally as possible.

There are many entertaining things you can do with your children that will not break you savings account. Here are some suggestions:

* Explore nature and what nature looked like thousands of years ago in our own backyard at Dismals Canyons.

* Visit the historical archives and library in downtown Russellville.

* Visit the Red Bay museum or take in a show by the Red Bay Arts & Entertainment Center.


* Take a horse ride on the horse trail in Hodges.

* Take short trips to the U.S Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville or to the McWane Science Center in Birmingham (both IMAX theaters with education movies).

These are only a few ideas out of the many that you and your family can enjoy locally and can get a wonderful educational experience in the process. Have a great and wonderful summer.