Many parents believe when school is out, learning should be put on hold as well. They believe that children work so hard during the school week or school year that continuing to work on math and reading skills will exasperate their child.
This disdain towards learning during a school break usually indicates that the parent views learning as only work. This perspective suggests that work is not something a child intrinsically wants to do, but something they are extrinsically motivated to do by way of school, the teacher, and mandated homework.
Possibly this view is due to pressures at school such as a frustrating teacher or difficulty/boredom with the level of the material. But most parents who see school as something a child is being “forced” to do often equates this “forced” learning with their own daily job—something that lacks excitement, enrichment, or enjoyment at any level.
I feel so sorry for families who have this view of education. How terribly frustrating it must be for the child to have to spend 180 days out of the year “working” and doing something he/she doesn’t really want to do. And how difficult it must be for the parents to have to push their children to do so.
But the truth is all learning should be fun! When concepts are learned in context, learning something new can be engaging and wonderfully enticing. And children don’t need (nor will they want to take) a break from something they love to do.
Parents who view learning or school as a tireless work pass down this view to their children. Therefore, rather than parents seeing the holiday break from school as a break from learning, they should look at the break as an opportunity to make book learning come alive!
Don’t allow your children to use the excuse, “I’m tired of school” to sit in front of the TV or computer. Instead, teach fractions over cooking Christmas cookies or the science of light bulbs while decorating the tree. Enjoy reading by snuggling up by the fire as a family and pass the book around so each family member can read ’Twas The Night Before Christmas.
Our children will imitate us. As parents, if we give up on learning, our children will as well. This is why parents themselves need to enjoy learning. When children see their parents take part in the learning process, they will want to also delight in acquiring new knowledge.
In addition, the holiday or summer break is one of the best times to continue learning. Children have a natural appetite to learn. Day after day of no learning can make the break boring. With no academic stimulation from school, this is a great time to work on easily forgotten skills such as multiplication facts or memorizing the state capitols. Make these activities into a game and your child will enjoy the break much more.
And what’s best is they will stay sharp for when school resumes. Learning should happen all the time for everyone. Christmas shouldn’t be a break from learning.