Brain drain during the holiday break...
We all know it, and we've been there. Taking a break from a school routine can cause a vacation fog. Repetition works and habits are like repetition, but what happens when your child is on a long break? After a significant amount of time not in a routine, a child will struggle to get back in the saddle. Vacation fog kicks in and kids are happy they aren't in school, they're having fun, and throwing snowballs. When it's time to go back, reality hits and so do the books. I imagine the hamster wheel cranking in slow motion moving forward. What makes it worse is the realization that after semester one, the breaks are few and far between. Eventually, the wheel cranks to full speed, but in the meantime, kids struggle to regain the momentum they once had before the break.
5 tips for learning during the holiday break
1. Keep to a routine. Keeping up a similar method during the break will help keep your child focused. All learning activities or reading should occur in the morning when kids are fresh. Be careful to avoid words like homework, learning, or requirement. We want to essentially sneak in some learning under the guise of fun. Instead, suggest your child pick a book and read aloud while you make breakfast. Let them know each day in the morning they will be doing a fun activity with you or on their own to share daily. That way, they know what they will be doing each day and it keeps them to a routine. That routine for just a small part of the day during the break can help reduce vacation fog.
2. Explore your surroundings. Make a word game in the car while driving to the in-laws during the holidays. Your child can read signs on the road or turn it into a fun math game. Make a bingo card of fun words to spot while driving!
3. Ask math questions. “If your toy costs $4.95, how much change do you give the cashier?” Math can be in everyday life activities. Purchase a math workbook and complete four math problems on a daily basis. Play War with a deck of cards and have your child identify greater than/ less than. Challenge older students to find geometric shapes in everyday items.
4. Write twenty minutes a day. Keep a writing journal. Ask your child to write to someone or write about a topic of interest in the journal. Even better, have them write about their vacation, their plans, and their goals. Check out some amazing writing prompts for students here. 31 fun writing prompts for middle school kids. Younger children can illustrate their writing and share with family members. Try these fun writing prompts for younger children. 50 Quick Writing Prompts for Elementary
5. Focus on a specific learning idea. Identify your child’s challenge areas in learning and create exercises to strengthen their skills set. If they struggle with math facts; make a game out of flash cards. Do they struggle with reading fluency or comprehension? Have them read aloud in the car or while you cook. Ask them questions such as "who, what, when, where, and why?" about what they have read aloud. If they make a statement about something they've seen on tv; ask them their opinion and encourage them to research the topic.
Over the break, students and parents who practice the above suggestions can see improvement and reduce digression in their child’s learning. Students have the opportunity to build self-esteem and confidence in education by overcoming their pain points in learning. Engaging in fun activities outside of class assignments and lessons makes learning fun and honestly they won't realize it's learning but a fun time with family sharing and playing.