Summer may be your child’s favorite time of the year – or a close second to Christmas! A little known secret for parents committed to their child’s education is that this season of fun is actually an ideal time to continue their learning.

According to research, the most accurate predictor of a student's academic achievement is not income or social status, but the extent to which the family supports education at home.. Here are four ideas that can help families support learning year-round:

  • Use your natural knowledge of your child. You know your child best! As their first teacher, your child counts on you more than any teacher to ensure that his or her needs – including academic needs – are met.

    Summer suggestion: pick one of your favorite hobbies (soccer, cooking, building, scrapbooking) and introduce your child to the basics. Depending on the activity, you will teach or reinforce skills such as measuring, reading, and problem-solving--all while having fun together. Allow your child the opportunity to help with every facet, from planning and gathering resources to cleaning up and discussing options for solving unexpected challenges.
  • Create a home environment that encourages learning.

    Summer suggestion: set up weekly visits to the local library or block a daily family reading hour – indoors or outside! A “reading tent” makes a great getaway for older kids who need quiet time ,while younger ones nap. Invite children to ask the Lord to use their reading time to help prepare them for their life purpose in serving him.
  • Communicate high, yet reasonable expectations for your child’s achievement and future career.

    Summer suggestion: Take a field trip to a local college or university campus with the kids. Some campuses host sports or academic camps for younger students, and all are eager to schedule family tours for prospective students. While visiting the campus, consider praying with your child for the college/university leadership, professors, students, and for wisdom for your family on the best place for your child to attend college. This is the time to begin casting a dream for their educational future.
  • Be involved in your child’s education at school and in the community

    Summer suggestion: many churches host Education Sunday each September to celebrate teachers, students, and education. Your family can sign up now and receive resources for planning a great event at your church.

Andrea R. Ramirez is Executive Director of Faith and Education Coalition, NHCLC.

[ This article is also available in español. ]