Reasons to Consider Summer School for Your Teen

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Failing a class in high school can be devastating to a teen’s self-esteem and it can interfere with them getting into their preferred college. Summer school is one of the many options available and there are very good reasons why you should consider it.

The Options For Making Up a Failed Class

Before discussing the advantage of summer school, consider all of your options for making up a class:

  1. Take the class again the following school year.
    One of the better options, as pointed out below, it can overwhelm a student. It can increase their class load or cause them to struggle more if they take a class on the same subject.
  2. Stay back a year and repeat the grade again.
    Many teenagers do not like this option because they want to be with their friends and want to graduate as soon as possible.
  3. If they have failed too many classes, this might be the only option.
  4. You may even want to consider an alternative school. Some students simply learn better in a different environment.
  5. If it’s an elective, just let it go.
    Electives are not as important as core classes, but you will want to consider your student's GPA and whether this may have a negative effect on college admissions 

More Time for the Basics

Summer school will give your teen more time to learn the basics of the subject.

Middle and high school classes mimic the fast-paced world in which we live. Unfortunately, teens learning math and science may not be able to keep up and end up getting lost.

When you consider that each step is a building block for the next concept in the course, it isn’t a mystery why many teens do not pass a class the first time around. The extra time that these teens need is offered during summer school sessions.

Smaller Classes in a Relaxed Environment

The environment of a summer school class offers your teen a different approach.

Summer school tends to be more relaxed with smaller classes. It is the optimal learning environment in which all teens could benefit, particularly those who struggle during the regular school year.

Teens will often have a different teacher, and their approach to teaching may be unique. Due to this, a teen may do very well during summer classes, even in a subject that he has previously failed. This can be the boost in confidence they need to have a more positive attitude toward school in general.

Avoid Two Core Classes Next Year

Summer school will give your teen a second chance to obtain class credit and avoid doubling up on a core class during the school year.

Here is how today’s high school works: each state requires a certain amount of core classes to be taken and passed before a student can graduate. Even if your teen isn’t going to college, they may still have to pass four math classes (including algebra and geometry) to obtain their diploma.

This can be demoralizing to a teen that has a hard time in math classes. If they fail one and has to take two next year, it can be too much math at one time. This can lead to more failure and the possibility of the teenager dropping out of school. Summer school prevents this problem.

Focus on Fewer Subjects

During summer school, your teen will be able to focus on just that particular class.

Remember that your teen is facing the type of stress that we face in our adult lives: deadlines and the push to perform well. Summer school can help teens who get overloaded by having too many classes to focus on at one time.

If the workload during the school year was a problem for your teen, summer school is a perfect option. It gives them time to focus on a tough subject and get the class credit they need.

Raise Their GPA

Summer school will give your teen the chance to raise his grade point average.

A failure in any class really hurts a teen’s cumulative average and can cost him the chance of getting into the college or technical school of his choice.

While letting an elective class go and not retaking it is an option, summer school grades replace the failing grade already earned. That will raise your teen’s GPA.

How to Talk Your Teen Into Summer School

You can help take away the stigma of summer school by talking to your teen.

  • Let them know that not passing a math/science/whatever class does not define who they are.
  • Their grades do not make or break how much you love them.
  • Create a positive conversation by bringing up something they do well.
  • Discuss ways to keep a failing grade from happening again (study groups or hiring a tutor at the first sign of trouble in a class).

When it is all said and done, summer school will get your teen back on the right track (and prevent summer behavior problems that stem from boredom). They will have passing grades and you can use the experience to strengthen the parent-child bond. A definite win-win situation!

1 Source
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Byrd RS. School failure: Assessment, intervention, and prevention in primary pediatric carePediatr Rev. 2005;26(7):233‐243. doi:10.1542/pir.26-7-233

By Denise Witmer
Denise Witmer is a freelance writer and mother of three children, who has authored several books and countless articles on parenting teens since 1997.