If you have, or have ever had a child with a disability, they have most likely attended "ESY." ESY stands for Extended School Year and is part of an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). However, even if the IEP team recommends the child for ESY, it is completely optional and up to the parents' discretion. The point of ESY is so that the child can continue working on the individualized goals that the team has put in place for the year. To be recommended for Extended School Year, the special education teacher and any therapists the child may have, must answer a series of questions to determine if they qualify.
One of the main questions is something along these lines: "Will it be detrimental to the child's academic future to take 2 months off from learning?" The teachers also look at data from right after the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks to see if there was any kind of regression and how long it took them to get back on track.
There are also plenty of summer programs for children, regardless if they are behind, struggling, or parents just want them to keep learning throughout their break. I believe, that depending on the child, that there are right and wrong ways to go about summer school programs. But obviously, this is just my opinion.
If you and your child's teachers believe that your child will never catch up if they take two months off, then summer programs might be the best plan. However, they are still children and need breaks. They shouldn't be in a classroom for 7 hours 5 days a week, especially during the summer! There should be efforts made to make the learning more fun and casual and give them opportunities to do things that they are interested in.
If your child has a disability such as Autism, schedules are very important. It may take time to create a new summer regimen, but they do not need to be sitting in a desk all day just to keep them occupied.
If you are just trying to find something to keep your kids busy, find something fun, maybe a sport or hobby that will keep them busy and learning that doesn't involve worksheets. Get their opinion! If possible, talk to them! What do they want their summer to look like? This doesn't mean you need to cater to their every need and want, but they are people too with preferences.
Don't treat summer programs as a punishment. I understand in some of the older grades that it can be so that the student can actually graduate. But we have to treat it a little bit differently with the younger students during their foundational learning years.
At the end of the day, you have to do what you believe is best for your child and their academic future.
For the first time, I am putting together a simple, fun, virtual learning program this summer for grades K-4. There will be small groups based on their current grade level (not age). We will meet for one week Monday-Friday for 1 hour, 10:00-11:00AM EST. I feel as though this will help children who could use a little extra reading practice, but won't get too overwhelmed by all the work. It will be interactive with no homework involved.
Here are the dates if you or someone you know might be interested! Please do not hesitate to contact me for more information!
June 12-16 (Kindergarten)
June 19-23 (1st Grade)
June 26-30 (2nd Grade)
July 10-14 (3rd Grade)
July 17-21 (4th Grade)