5 Tips for Staying Smart Over the Holidays

It's spring break time for many students. While a healthy rest from homework and test-taking can leave your child refreshed, it's also a time when some students let their minds atrophy. This can make returning to school more difficult than it needs to be. Presented here are tips for maintaining that academic edge during school breaks.

Find available tutors

holiday vacation tips winter reading

1. Travel Smart

Will your family be traveling over the break? If you're traveling by air, take advantage of the otherwise wasted time with a practice SAT, ACT or other age-appropriate test, such as an ISEE for younger children. These practice tests are widely available in review books and online. Since you know in advance the minimum time a flight will take, you can choose a test or sections of a test to match the time in the air.

Once you reach your destination, encourage your child to explore. If you're in a foreign country, your child can practice the local language, study the cultural differences and break out of his or her comfort zone. If you're visiting family in a city you've been to countless time before, try to seek out an unexplored area. Perhaps there are new restaurants to experience or local history to discover.

2. Tackle a Reading List

An excellent way to keep the brain sharp over spring break is to dive into literature. This is a time when you can let your child choose a book that's of interest to him or her. It can be a classic work that isn't on the school's syllabus or a popular novel that will keep your child entertained. Whether it's an epic Russian novel or a teen book about vampires, any form of reading is a great alternative to television and video games.

3. Seek Out Culture

Whether you're traveling the world or staying home, spring break provides plenty of time to seek out cultural experiences that can keep your mind sharp. It's a great opportunity to leisurely spend hours at an art museum, history museum, aquarium or science museum. You could also take a family trip to a concert or other cultural event.

Instead of watching mindless entertainment, seek out a movie that's relevant to what your child may be studying. For example, if your child has studied Shakespeare, consider a marathon of movies based on Shakespeare's plays. Likewise, a student taking American history could watch Glory, The Grapes of Wrath or Amistad.

4. Help Out in the Kitchen

During breaks, many families spend countless hours in the kitchen. By helping with the cooking, your child can stay fresh with math skills by working on measurements and closely following instructions. For example, baking a cake or making cookies presents a wonderful opportunity to practice with fractions, dry measurements and liquid measurements, since each ingredient must be carefully calculated. As a perk, this is an academic exercise with an edible final result.

5. Play Smart

Finally, there are ways to maintain an academic edge that feel far more like fun than learning. You could spend an afternoon playing a board game or a card game. There are games that can be highly cerebral, like chess, poker or Trivial Pursuit. There are also many simpler games like Memory that still improve concentration skills and help children develop critical thinking, regardless of your child's age.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth