Which is more hotly debated; the amount of time schools get off for the summer holidays, or the setting of homework?
The answer is a combination of the two: summer homework.
There’s already been news of a district in America ‘ditching’ summer homework and instead asking students to read during their time off, yet this is where the issue with summer homework lies. It’s not the asking or expectation of children engaging in activities that stimulate their brain over the holidays, it’s the pitching such activities as ‘homework’.It’s not the asking or expectation of children engaging in activities that stimulate their brain over the holidays, it’s the pitching such activities as ‘homework’.
Keep brains active
During the summer holidays, students need to engage in activities that get them thinking, 6 weeks is a long time to go without any stimulation. If students don’t partake in any academic work over the holidays their performance levels fall about a month on average over the summer.
This then means when they come back to school after the break, they aren’t building upon the work that was previously covered, but instead, time is spent re-teaching what was covered the previous year. This isn’t saying that students should spend the same amount of time they do during term time on homework, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that they even need to spend time on traditional school work.
Instead, it’s simply avoiding complete lack of acknowledgement of learning. There are a multitude of ways in which children can engage in stimulating activities over the holidays, for example learning a new skill or starting a new hobby - this could be anything from baking, gardening or trying their hand at learning an instrument.
Think outside the box
Days out to museums and galleries are a fun and easy way to get children thinking outside of their phone and social media, these can also be cheap days out if you live in the area as admission is free unless you choose to pay for the exhibitions. This doesn’t need to be restrictive to your home town either, if you’re travelling either around the UK or abroad take advantage of what’s on in the local area - museums, galleries, festivals and shows.
Additionally, encouraging children to read for pleasure and write over the holidays is a cheap and hassle free way to keep them entertained and working their brain. Depending on the age and interests of your child reading could range from topical books around a subject they enjoy, fiction or even just the newspaper so they’re up to date on current affairs. Similarly, writing could range from completing short stories for their own enjoyment or to enter into competitions or even just a journal of what they get up to over the holidays.
However, although it’s important to make sure children are keeping their brains busy over the holidays it’s also as equally important to allow them time to relax, socialise, spend time with their family and have the opportunity to do what they want - even if that is just to watch TV. Regardless of your child's age, they’ve been working hard the entire year and deserve this time to have fun, unwind and make the most of their 6 weeks off.