Mar 22, 2018
While it’s up for debate whether or not the east coast got the memo, spring break is soon approaching. A few days off is the perfect amount of time to revive, refocus, and reenergize to make it through the final stretch to summer.
Though spring break typically only spans a week, some parents fear that even a short time away from regular classes might encourage students to fall victim to “brain drain,” or learning loss. Luckily, studies have proven this fear to be ill founded. In fact, many argue that taking a few days off benefits students by providing them with some much needed R&R.
A Few Days Off is Just That
Not convinced? One study conducted by a Malone University honors program student found that spring break had virtually no effect (positive or negative) on prior learning. Seventh and eighth graders were tested on the same material both before and after vacation, showing an average increase of .25 points and a decrease of .3 points respectively. In other words, test score differences were insignificant.
Small Steps Forward
Though there’s no need to stick to a rigorous schedule, carving out some time with your child over break to set sights on any upcoming tests or projects can provide ease of mind later down the road. Parents and tutors are also encouraged to use the time away to look over middle school and high school entrance exam requirements and start thinking about ways to prepare. That said, days off can also be prime time to implement classroom lessons into daily life.
School in Real Life
Baking, shopping, and mornings at home can easily turn into math lessons or opportunities to encourage critical thinking. Halving or doubling a recipe requires practicing fractions, determining final prices on sale items involves working with percentages, and the morning paper offers Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Strategy games, such as chess, are not only fun but have been proven to “improve a child’s visual memory, attention span, and spatial-reasoning ability.” Interactive museums, watching and analyzing documentaries, and working on creative arts and crafts all offer stimulation for students during break while still promoting relaxation.
The possibilities are endless. Having fun while learning allows students to better engage with the topic and retain information, while using real life situations to incorporate lesson plans will create meaningful experiences. It will also solidify the notion that school is, in fact, useful in everyday life.