Keep high schoolers entertained can be a difficult feat at times. It’s easy to give them the television remote or let them spend hours perusing the mall, but what is the lifelong benefit of that? There are so many alternatives that provide a more purposeful experience that can have a more significant impact on their life now and as they move into adulthood.

Enrichment Camp

High schoolers are the primary source of academic knowledge for students during the school year, but what about during the summer? There are several options for camps every summer for high schoolers, but ones that offer student enrichment in specific areas might be more beneficial in the long run.

Enrichment programs during the summer offer so much for students who participate in them. Many offer on-site sleeping accommodations, so students have an immersive experience while being enriched in the topics they choose. Offerings range from academic topics, like ACT/SAT prep, to more career-oriented subjects, like fashion design and engineering. They can last from one to several weeks throughout the summer.

In addition to focusing their energy on a subject matter they enjoy, they'll have the opportunity to build friendships with other students. They'll be able to share common interests with others that can help build their personal community. Being around new faces from different backgrounds can have a profound effect and influence past the enrichment program experience. 

Research Family History

Whether your family has deeply rooted traditions or not, it is an enriching experience to learn about your family’s heritage. If your family has a strong oral history, encourage your high schooler to record it in a way that is available to the entire family. If possible, get them a digital voice recorder and encourage setting up times to chat with various relatives to capture your family’s legacy. Having stories on a digital voice recording will be easy to distribute to future family members.

For older documents and photos, visit a library or friend with a scanner to make digital copies of those as well. If the documents include names of foreign countries and cities, your high schooler can do some research on that location to unveil possible cultural history from your ancestors. Today is tomorrow's history, so in the spirit of capturing the family legacy, they can begin recording vital information about living family members, like places lived, schools attended, and job positions.

In the case that your family history hasn’t been kept in any form, help your high schooler set up an Ancestry.com account. They can use the 14-day free trial to go as far back as possible even if your immediate family is all they have to begin.

Volunteering

If your high schooler has some idea of what they want to study in college or do professionally after graduating, help them find an organization that aligns with those interests to log volunteer hours. Volunteering is something a high school can add to their resume before they are old enough to work, and this can help give them an edge over other applicants who have no work or volunteer experience.

Volunteering will develop a sense of responsibility while helping them gain practical skills that will help later in life. In addition to using the volunteer experience to gain possible employment, volunteer work looks great on college applications. Volunteer experiences exist at local animal shelters, kids’ camps, houses of religion, and many more places in every community. Using websites like VolunteerMatch are great to find opportunities near where you live.

Cook from Scratch

When school is in session, it's effortless to purchase pre-made meal options and snacks from the grocery store. It saves time when there isn't much between the kids being in school, participating in extra-curricular activities, and completing homework. Focusing on school work during the academic year is their priority.

Once or twice a month, it is a good idea to make a homecooked meal or snack. Instead of buying chocolate chip cookies, make them! Rather than visiting your favorite breakfast spot, whip up family brunch for everyone. These don’t have to be difficult recipes you’ll find at Michelin star restaurants, but rather simple staples your kids enjoy and should learn to make themselves.

Taking time to cook at home with your kids will teach them a skill they can take with them past graduation. We all know it's not healthy to eat out all the time, so set your high schooler up for success by teaching them the cooking basics. If you're not the most fabulous cook either, find cooking classes in your area that the whole family can attend.

Published by Zoe Sewell