DEAR HARRIETTE: I just learned from my son's school that he is not doing as well in math as we had hoped. He doesn't have to go to summer school, but it would be helpful for him to have support so that he could do better next year. We have already set him up in a number of programs for the summer, all of which are fun-based. Now I realize that we have to add tutoring. How do I break it down to him so that he will pay attention and do the real work when he expects to have the summer off to just have fun? -- Getting to the Point, Detroit
DEAR GETTING TO THE POINT: Before summer starts, sit down with your son and review his grades and whatever additional information you have gathered from his school. Ask your son to talk to you about how he has done in class. Do your best to get him to talk about where he may need support. If you can create a safe space in your conversation that allows your son to open up about his academic life, it will be easier to establish buy-in for the tutoring.
Talk to your son about the schedule you have put in place for him for the summer. Point out that you have added regular tutoring hours to it, based on his academic performance this year. Do not make it seem like tutoring is a punishment. Instead, point out that it is a support to ensure that he is prepared to step into the next academic year fully prepared. Then monitor his activities throughout the summer, and be sure to have him complete his studies before he jumps into fun. That way he can enjoy the best of his whole summer experience.