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How to Keep Your Child from Forgetting School Subjects While on Holiday

Abbey Smithee By Abbey Smithee Published on August 29, 2016

Holidays are some of the most treasured times in childhood. Unfortunately, the breaks between school terms can cause children to experience a slump when they get back into their schoolwork. While kids really do need to take time away from their school desks, keeping their minds active and learning is important. Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways to incorporate learning into their routine when they’re away from school. The aim should be to blend learning with fun and games. The best way to do this is to incorporate learning into your holiday activities, or even your day-to-day lives. 

Here are some suggestions of fun ways to encourage learning on a variety of subjects.


English

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Of course, the best way to keep up literacy during the holidays is to encourage recreational reading. Without the constraints of school, you can really allow your child to read wherever their interests lie. Trips to the library are a fun family activity and a great way to encourage children to find something suited to their mood and taste. 

With the extra free time, it’s a great opportunity help them increase their normal reading habits. A great way to bolster reading throughout the holiday is to set a reading challenge, perhaps to read a certain number of books in a series or on a theme. You can also encourage them to keep up their writing skills by getting them to write short reviews of the books they read. If you’re travelling, a nice way to do this is on a postcard. 

If you want more ideas on how to encourage reading at home you can find them in our article on Cool Ways To Get Your Kids Reading.


History

Reading can also form an important part of keeping up an interest in history during breaks from school. It can be helpful to take cues from what’s around you to encourage learning about history. If you’re at home, it can be as simple as taking inspiration from a movie you’ve all recently watched. You can set a project to look up and read about the time period in which the movie was set. If there is going to be a family get-together, you might encourage your child to work out a small family tree or collect anecdotes from other relatives. If you’re travelling, you can make a family activity of finding out about the history of your destination, incorporating not only reading, but exploring museums or landmarks. Holidays are a great time to make history relevant and interesting to your child’s experiences.


Languages

If your child is learning a language, one of the first things they can start to forget if they step away from it, is the vocabulary. One of the ways to keep vocabulary fresh in their minds is to get your child to label items around the house with post-it notes in the language they are studying. This will not only be a good once-off activity, but if the labels are left up, it means that your child will be able to memorize those words for the duration of the holiday. It is important to encourage them to speak with those words, even if the rest of the sentence is in English, as it will make a big difference in cementing this vocabulary. Building up confidence in a language is a long process and allowing it to be part of everyday life is great way to keep children familiar and comfortable with it.


Biology

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There are lots of great books to help your kids get into nature. Try The Curious Nature guide for fun ideas

School breaks and holidays are a wonderful time to get outside. Going for walks and taking note of the nature around you is a great way to get kids enthusiastic about learning biology. You can encourage them to keep a nature diary, by collecting leaves and flowers as you go along, or even taking photographs of the plants and the wildlife, then they can draw what they’ve found into their nature diary with a short description. This also encourages them to be creative with their artwork and practice their writing skills, but there’s no need to limit this activity to deliberate nature excursions. You can encourage them to be on the look-out for interesting examples of nature in every outing, from car windows, to back gardens and city streets. It’s always good to keep children open to the world around them and excited to take it in.


Math

Mathematical learning is largely sequential, building up skills as you go along; so when skills drift during holidays it can cause problems. Luckily many math skills are easily built into simple activities. One of the best ways to incorporate math into a fun family activity is to get baking.

This kind of activity is great because it involves a wide range of math types. From weighing ingredients and calculating fractions of teaspoons to oven temperatures and cooking times, there is a range of figures and formulae to hand.

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous with your baking, you could also use cakes to let your children get interactive with shapes. You can treat it like a large, and hopefully tasty puzzle, looking at the ways you can cut and arrange round and square cakes to form new shapes like hearts, or teddy bears. This confidence with playing around with shapes and angles is a great skill to bring to learning math.


Chemistry

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Websites like this one are a great source of inspiration for DIY science experiments

Fostering a love of chemistry is a great chance for you and your children to get your hands dirty. There are lots of resources online now for DIY science experiments you can do at home,  from making baking soda volcanos to creating colour symphonies in milk. These may take a some effort and a bit of tidying up, but there’s a real joy in allowing children to get involved and see how something works. It’s not always possible to do these kinds of fun activities in larger classes, so having the space and time at home is a great opportunity.

Abbey Smithee works as an English teacher and in her spare time, volunteers with children with learning disabilities as a tutor and reading assistant.

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