We’re all excited for the holiday season, the opportunity to share time with family, and maybe sneak a nap here and there. Our kids are especially excited this year, as the return to school has been draining, and at times overwhelming. Though there may be festivities planned, it’s important we keep hitting the books too. Trying to study during holidays is challenging, we know. The chance to veg out, watch Netflix, or play video games is truly tempting. But the opportunity young learners have to recover learning losses from our time online is too great to waste.
Step 1: Take a Breath
Life has been rough since the pandemic began. Everybody from young kids to the elderly was in some way affected by the major day-to-day life changes made seemingly overnight. You and your child are doing your best, and are working hard to do better. That’s what counts, you’ve got this!
Step 2: To Study During Holidays Requires Some Sacrifice, Accept It
Unfortunately, our time is finite. Though we’d love to recover from months worth of learning loss and make it to every holiday event this season, we simply cannot. To study during holidays is one of the noblest of ambitions, and you’re sure to see the pay-off. However, managing your child’s expectations will be a necessary cost of doing this catch-up business. When you study during vacation, you’re not really vacationing, but that’s okay.
Step 3: Carve Out Time for Work and Play
Balance is key. It’s important kids get the chance to take a break, and have some fun this winter break. It’s also important they take advantage of the time to catch-up in school. Finding a happy medium will prove essential for a successful winter break. That said, finding time to study during holidays is hard to begin with. In moderation, time spent hanging out with friends, or watching movies, will recharge your child for their studies. Conversely, time spent doing math practice problems, or reading an appropriately-challenging book, will make break-time feel that much better.
When it comes to time allocated towards school work, set concrete goals. In order to accomplish learning gains this break, we need to have clear objectives. Is your child having more trouble in math than ELA? Then perhaps it makes sense to emphasize math studies this break. If you’re going all out to study during holidays, your approach should be targeted.
Bust out the backpack, and go over your child’s test and quiz scores this school year with them. What topics were smooth-sailing? Which weren’t? These assessments can not only be used as a means to gauge curriculum-specific strengths and weaknesses, but they can also be used to generate new practice questions and tests. Moreover, this record of scores can be used as a reference point for the beginning of winter break studies.
If your child gets cold feet when it comes time to put feet to pavement, consider renegotiating. For many kids, the notion of trying to do schoolwork and study during holidays seems cruel and unusual. Perhaps a positive reinforcement system at home could motivate your young-learner.
Step 4: Adjust, and Return to Step 1
Plans change. Especially plans involving kids. Attempting to study during holidays is truly challenging, so try to be flexible. If the current work-play schedule isn’t proving effective, switch it up. Notice that your child seems to lose steam after reading? Then save it for long car rides or before bed. If it seems like there’s some larger stumbling-block holding your child back, it may be worth prodding. Your child is likely feeling frustrated and stuck themselves, so they may want to share that with you, but need you to make the first move.
Simply asking “Is school harder this year?” or “Do you like what you’re learning in school?” can get the ball rolling nonchalantly. From there, use your intel to accommodate them by revising study plans. Or, consider enrolling them in tutoring, so an expert can help them find their footing in school again. Tutoring centers like Tip-Top Brain are especially aware of the significant learning loss students have experienced since the start of the pandemic, and can assess your child’s academic standing, then personalize tutoring to their needs and goals.
Alternatively, maybe your child isn’t being challenged enough with their break-studies, and it’s time to amp it up. This may be the result of your child spending too much time on recent, more memorable class materials. The learning loss students experienced during online school eroded the foundations of what students are learning now, so circling back is especially worthwhile this break.
All in all, the key to maximizing winter break learning gains is being determined and adaptable. Heading into break with a plan of attack and concrete goals is important, but ultimately being receptive to your child’s needs is paramount. It’s hard to study during holidays, so be patient with your child. Kids want to have fun this break too, and this year many of us will see more family and friends than last, which is an opportunity not to be missed. With the proper balance of work and play, and perhaps even a tutor, your child is sure to not only see learning gains, but a boost in confidence too. What better way to start the New Year?