Staying Sharp at School: How to Avoid Holiday Learning Loss This Year
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By now, most students and parents are familiar with summer learning loss – when students forget meaningful chunks of information over the long summer break. It’s a disruptive feature of the conventional school year cycle, potentially setting kids back in their learning outcomes.
But what many students and parents may not realize is that learning loss isn’t just a summer phenomenon. It can happen over the holiday break, too.
As students gear up for a (much-needed) winter break, let’s ensure their brains stay sharp, active and curious. Below, explore tips for avoiding holiday learning loss this year.
During Family Time, Discuss What You Learned So Far This Year
The holidays have always been a time for reflection, when the family gathers to share what they’ve accomplished this past year. In this spirit of reflection, consider sparking a family discussion about what the kids have learned.
Did they master their polynomials? Did they read a novel in English that left an indelible impression? Did they spark a newfound interest in chemistry or biology? Simply talking through what they learned can be a great way to keep that information fresh in their minds.
Consider Online Courses
Online courses are a fantastic way to bridge the gap between semesters – and potentially lighten the load of their upcoming semester.
Online courses are flexible and self-paced with no fixed start or end date. A student can register for an online course during the holiday season and slowly work their way through it for the next couple of months. And because they’re earning the credit online, they can skip that class in their upcoming semester. Online courses are a fantastic solution to holiday learning loss and can fast-track a student’s education.
Try Brain-Stimulating Activities
Holidays should be relaxing. But there’s a notable difference between “relaxing” and “wholly unproductive.” Instead of binge-watching another show or spending the umpteenth evening playing video games, try brain-stimulating activities.
These can be part of a family games night (like Scrabble, Pictionary, Trivia, etc.). They might involve some solitary reading time. Or kids can download educational apps for interactive learning.
Read Ahead to Get a Jump on the New Year
Who says you can’t read ahead? Consider setting aside an afternoon or two this holiday to jump on the new year. Research your upcoming courses’ learning plan/course materials and find the textbooks online.
Then, do some preliminary reading on the concepts and skills you’ll learn this coming year. By simply acknowledging what’s to come, you can stay ahead of the curve in your studies.
Get Plenty of Rest
This might seem counterintuitive, but it’s essential for a growing brain: Get some rest. Even if you enroll in online courses or read ahead for next semester, ensure that you balance those academic pursuits with some R&R. Our brains function at their peak when we give them an opportunity to unwind and relax. Make sure you get consistent, sufficient sleep over the holidays (i.e., resist the urge to scroll social media until 2 AM). And give yourself plenty of time between learning tasks for leisure activities.
These straightforward tips will help you or your kids avoid holiday learning loss. When January rolls around, they’ll be ready to hit the ground running.