5 Tips for Staying Smart Over the Holidays
Mar 13, 2012
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.
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.
Other Blog Posts You May Be Interested In
A question for parents: would you allow your children to play outside without keeping an eye on them? Many would likely say no. Well, the same mentality should be used when your kids use the Internet; in other words, kids should not be allowed to roam the vast world of the Internet unsupervised and without fully understanding its...
If you have a child in elementary, middle or high school, then you've likely heard plenty of stories about bullying. Even if your child is not the target of bullying, he or she could still be affected by it. As a parent, you'll certainly want to make your kids aware of this persistent and growing problem in schools across the...
Let's face it: moving from kindergarten to first grade can be an overwhelming experience; so can transitioning from elementary school to middle school, or middle school to high school. In many ways, kids can be totally unprepared for what to expect as they move from one grade level to the next. So how can parents help with this...
Is it too early to begin thinking about your child's future career? Whether you have a toddler, tween or teen, it's never too early to begin cultivating interests that might one day turn into a career. So what can you do to steer your child in what is hopefully the right direction?
Are you worried that your child will not be intellectually stimulated during the summer months? While the season should be a time for fun and relaxation, it certainly doesn't hurt to slip some learning in during summer break. So sure, hit the beaches and amusement parks...but consider the following suggestions for activities that are...