Cougar News

Welcome to our School News page! On this page you will be able to read the latest Cougar news as well as tips to help your child be successful. Be sure to visit this page often, as we'll update it frequently and communicate the exciting things happening at Lee Academy.

Summer Fun

For most teens, summer is a time to hang out with friends, sleep in late, and be independent. Of course, we are all looking forward to the relaxing pace that summer offers, but if we are going to have a successful summer, we need to plan for it.

Here are some ideas to get you started on an eventful summer:

  1. Check out the local YMCA to see what classes might be offered. Besides swimming, the “Y” often offers classes in cooking, arts and crafts, and even self-defense.
  2. Some neighborhood associations offer workshops in a variety of categories.
  3. Volunteer work can be a great outlet; particularly at an animal shelter, nursing homes, churches, homeless shelters, and soup kitchens.
    1. A side benefit to volunteerism is that it promotes self-confidence and responsibility.
    2. Volunteer work looks great on college applications and resumes; especially if your child wants to apply for a scholarship.
  4. What about a part-time job?
    1. Are there internships or small tasks your teen can do at your place of employment?
    2. Consider helping your teen apply to local grocery stores, restaurants, retail stores, local car washes, or pet care facilities.
    3. Your teen can develop a strong work ethic and learn the value of a dollar.

The best approach is always to talk things out together. It is important to note what limitations might exist and to plan accordingly. The only thing worse than having a bored teen in your home is two or more bored teens! Plan ahead!

Summer Entertainment on a Dime

Summer’s here! Our kids are excited, ready for anything that doesn’t feel like school; however, we parents might be more accurately described as “anxious!” What will our kids do all day? How much will it cost us? Summer strikes fear in parents everywhere; so what are we going to do to survive the summer?

  • Check out the local community center. Centers all over the state offer low-cost programs for children of all ages, such as swimming, tennis, arts and crafts, and cooking.
  • Visit the library. Look for some great reads for the older kids and reading incentive programs for the younger ones.
  • Free movies! Many local theaters offer free or low-cost movies on weekday mornings. Check the local theater for more information.
  • Plan a “staycation.” If leaving town is not financially feasible, turn your home into a “hotel.” Grill some burgers and hot dogs, rent a movie, pop popcorn, camp out in the family room, and enjoy some great family time. Feel free to “venture” out to visit some local tourist sites—your home can be a great hotel!
  • Cruise the mall. If it’s too hot to play outside, enjoy some play time inside. Do some window shopping with air conditioning on someone else’s dime.
  • Give the kids some online time. With school out, help your kids keep up their education by allowing them some well-supervised time on the Internet.
  • Plan for some quiet time at home. We can’t be on the run every minute of the day, and everyone is happier when relaxed and rested.

We don’t have to dread summer. Yes, it may be hot, and yes, it can be a challenge to keep the kids entertained on a daily basis. But with a little forethought and planning, all of us can have a busy, fun-filled summer without breaking the bank!

Keep Your Kids Reading This Summer

Reading. It’s one of the simplest—and cheapest—forms of entertainment for you and your child. And with summer here to stay for a while, it’s also a great way to stay cool—curled up on the couch with a good book. Reading is also a great way to keep your kids tuned into learning during their long vacation. Here are some tips to keep your child’s reading skills on track while she is out of school:

  • Set a timer and have your child read at least 30 minutes a day, in addition to any bedtime reading. If your child isn’t quite reading independently, have her look at the pictures and just peruse the books. Better yet, read to her.
  • If she’s a reluctant reader, visit your local library. Most offer summer reading programs with incentives for minutes or books read.
  • Find appropriate books. Your child needs books at her reading level so she can be successful. Scholastic offers great information on summer books, divided by grade level, along with some tips to determine if the book is age-appropriate. Family Education also has book lists by age group and genre.
  • Talk about books. Let your child see that you are a reader too, and talk about some of your favorite books. Ask her questions about what she is reading and encourage discussion.
  • Relax and have fun! Just like you, kids need a break sometimes. Encourage reading, but don’t make it a chore. If 30 minutes a day is an expectation, stick with it, but allow your child time to rest, play, or just goof around!
Word Clouds

Parents often look for ways to keep children involved in learning, particularly during the summer. These efforts by parents are essential, as educational research shows that the typical child can lose a month or more of learning over the summer months.

Building word clouds is a fun, easy, and learning-filled way to support reading, comprehension, and vocabulary. A word cloud is a visual way to creatively group words or terms together and built around just about anything, such as a story, an idea, or an activity. It can be used as an introduction to a lesson or as a closing activity. The great thing about a word cloud is that the sky is the limit!  

You can build a word cloud with paper and markers or crayons or a word processor. Or, you can engage students quickly by using one of the many free websites available online. You will find some examples of user-friendly word cloud builders on the Tagxedo, ABCya, and EdWordle websites.

Word clouds do not take a large amount of time for preparation. They also can be used for any age level. To support reading comprehension skills, it can be as simple as leafing through a story and listing the vocabulary words, usually in bold print. A more creative approach would be for the child to pick a subject, such as a family pet, a poem, or a favorite sport, and then list every word that comes to mind relating to that selection. For an older child, technical or typically uninteresting terminology can come to life with a word cloud.

Once the child has selected the words, the next step is to decide which of the words should be emphasized. Kids can give special attention to words by using them several times or by changing font sizes, styles, and colors. It’s also fun to play with the way the words are positioned in the cloud. Backgrounds are also usually an option in the Web versions, as is the actual shape of the cloud. Imagine a word cloud about “Fido,” shaped like a puppy...fluffy, silly, bouncy, loving, adorable, cuddly.

Make summer activities fun with word clouds. In the end, they can be a great learning tool and visual snapshot of what children know, learn, and imagine.