2020 has been anything but a normal school year for our children. Many have returned to school, albeit briefly, and then the summer holidays arrived before we knew it. Holidays may look markedly different this year too, with many of us staying put and exploring Singapore. A common question from many of our parents is, “how do I maintain my child’s education and learning over the summer vacation?” We thought we’d share a few tips and ideas on ways to incorporate learning into the summer break.
Make it manageable
You don’t need to resort to hours and hours of study. Setting long study periods can be unmotivating for even the most conscientious of students. Break study times down to manageable tasks and times. A half an hour block every day is much more effective than 3 hours back to back once a week.
Agree on a plan
For older students, it sometimes helps to agree a plan together, so it doesn’t feel like a schedule being imposed on them. They might have clear targets set from school, if not then work with them to identify goals. Think outside the box too, it might be a project exploring their career options. This can be hugely motivating, especially if your child identifies a career of interest. This could make them more likely to want to take the steps to achieve their career aspiration – one being getting the grades!
Recognise when your child does undertake learning or study activities during the summer period and reward them. This could be along the lines of a simple acknowledgement or a more formal reward system, with a choice of day out or treat if they complete several activities related to their studies. Create a reward board with your child to stick on the fridge. Often visual cues help, and we all know children are always at the fridge for a snack!
Work with their hobbies and interests
Does your child love computer games? How about channelling their interest and exploring career options with them? As already mentioned, this can be a really rewarding activity. Look at the skills and requirements for jobs in the industry to identify possible options that your child could explore now. An obvious choice for computer games is coding. There’s lots of great resources for coding out there to explore with your child.
A walk in one of the many national parks in Singapore could have easy links to many subjects and be the perfect learning opportunity. The signs throughout the parks are a great resource for learning too. Want to incorporate Maths into your outing? Ask your child to time the walk and work out their mile splits. Or become nature explorers and count the number of birds and wildlife spotted on your walk using tables and create subsequent graphs at home. Regardless of the learning links (which are endless), exercise is of course the most important benefit to note here.
Reading is such a great way to embed learning over the summer and a love of reading will take your child on so many adventures without even leaving the house. Take a trip to the library (great news – libraries have recently re-opened in Singapore!) or look for new books online together.
Learn new skills
Remember learning isn’t just about academic subjects in school. Holidays are a perfect chance for children to explore other passions and interest. Whether you have a budding artist or a linguist on your hands, there’s lots of online courses and activities that you can access, as well as a range of online and in person summer camps to attend. Here at Boutique Education, we are running several camps over the summer to cater to a whole host of interests.
Make learning fun!
It goes without saying but children often enjoy learning most when it’s fun! Making learning fun doesn’t mean lots of preparation and expensive resources, it’s really about a bit of imagination. For instance, a family game of Scrabble or Monopoly ticks a lot of boxes in terms of getting your child to use skills in English and Maths, respectively.
Embed learning into days out
You’d be surprised how easy it is to integrate learning into days out. The more obvious examples are of course trips to museums (some of which have opened their doors again recently with additional safe distancing measures). Even a trip to the shops can be the perfect chance to put your child’s Maths skills to the test. Days out are also good for English and creative writing projects. Ask your child to take photos of their day to create a scrapbook or blog post.
Parents often stress about their children losing momentum over the summer – remember everyone is in the same boat with the same worries. Hopefully, some of the above tips help to highlight that as well as there being many ways to incorporate more formal learning into your child’s week, there’s also a whole host of learning that will happen naturally throughout the summer.
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