“Winter Break….YAY…..no school….freedom….no work….lots of free time….HAPPY!!!”
This is what is going through the minds of most students (other than those that got assigned a project or makeup work over the break).
Honestly this is what goes through the minds of most teachers (except that they still have some work).
What we need to focus on is the real purpose of the break. How and where can we find hidden opportunities for learning?
By now if you have been reading my blogs you know that our brain is in constant need of exercise so that it can grow and stay strong. Whether young, old, or somewhere in between, it is important to always learn new things, strengthen old skills, practice, and find new ways to grow. It is necessary for both our survival and happiness.
Yet, we fall into this habit of believing that since it is a break, no learning is necessary.
Think about what taking an extended break from work does to you. When you head out on that vacation and don’t even think about your job for a week. Are you eager to go back the next Monday? Do you have an easy time working your way back into your daily routine?
If you are anything like me your answer is no!
The same thing applies to learning.
On that vacation you likely learned new things and explored new ways to grow, so your brain didn’t take a break from learning.
During winter break your kids still get learning opportunities as well, but it is up to you to help them make the best use of them.
It is crucial that they continue exercising their brains. Finding new creative, entertaining ways to do this is a key goal. Helping them to push themselves while also pushing yourself to learn new things. Finding joy in the exploration of new tasks and hobbies is a great way to grow. It helps them to not see school breaks as a break from all learning, but rather as an opportunity to explore things they don’t have time for during the regular school week.
For example, if your child struggles with Math, taking two weeks off from Math skills is going to make resuming school even harder for them. It is important to keep those neural pathways connected to solving math problems, working and practicing math skills.
You can do this in a number of ways. You can have them play math games on the computer, iPad, or their phone if they like video games. You can take them to the store with you and make a game of them keeping a running total of the bill, and have them help you brainstorm ways to save money on certain items. You can look up fun math activities online to do with them. These are some of the multitudes of ideas out there for helping math to be more fun.
It is also a good idea to keep your child reading throughout the break. Pick things for pleasure such as sports articles, articles on celebrities, articles online on a favorite topic of theirs, or read a book together. If your child loves to read make sure you take them to the library to pick out some books, or buy them one as a treat for the break.
Encourage all forms of learning for yourself and your child. Find a new hobby to explore, or take a family trip to your local science, history, or art museum. The museums usually have some great events over these break times for just this sort of learning opportunity.
If you keep yourself and your children engaged and looking for ways to learn over the break, you will be amazed at the opportunities that open up for all of you. Not to mention how much more readily and easily they will get back into the school routine.
I plan to use this time to really come up with some great resources for you in the coming year, iron out my goals (big and small), and continue creating a super beneficial free resource that will come with signing up for our email list. Don’t worry, if you are already signed up you will be getting that resource too!
I know that there are a ton of ideas for keeping kids engaged during their breaks while still giving them that much needed break from the traditional classroom. I am always amazed by some of the innovative ways parents dream up to keep their kids occupied while making learning fun. Please add comments of ways that you have attempted and experienced success with this in the past.
Many of these ideas could make it into my free resources to distribute the love of learning even further. I know the activities you have tried are custom tailored to keep your child engaged, so be sure to discuss how you used your child’s interests to get them excited.
If you are having trouble finding something that will work for your child please contact me and we can brainstorm ideas together tailored to your child’s interests.
Want a hassle free way to keep your kids and yourself learning over break? I can provide that as well. We can come up with a fun learning workshop or lab activity that can be hosted in the RTP area or designed for you to set up in your own home. I can be available either in person or via skype and look forward to speaking with you.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful break full of growth and fun learning experiences!
Amanda Avery 🙂
P.S. If you haven’t already take a moment to sign up for our email list here. I can promise that the emails you get will have meaningful content!