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How *Not* to Forget Everything over Winter Break

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

Hooray!  Winter vacation is almost here!  Students throughout the country will be running out of school in the next week and gleefully forgetting everything that they’ve learned in the past four months of school.  Everyone needs a break, but here are some easy tips that will keep that information from melting away:

Ask teachers for enrichment work.  Most teachers have worksheets that review material they’ve covered in their classes, and they are happy to share these with their students (or steer parents in the right direction for workbooks, online resources, etc.)  Some are even willing to give extra credit for work done over the break.

Do a little bit every day.  This is something that teachers tell their students constantly: it is better to do work little by little over multiple days than to cram it all into one marathon session.  Whether you are learning a new language, tackling a big paper, or studying for a major exam, you will be far more successful (and retain a lot more) if you stretch the work out over a longer period of time.

Schedule in the work.  Let’s face it: who does work during a vacation if they don’t have to?  Think about schedules in advance of the break to determine when there are 30-60 minute stretches of quiet time that can be used for work.  Is it right after breakfast, or is it mid-afternoon?  Making the work a regular part of the day (like meals and other activities) establishes it as part of a routine.

Make it a family activity.  School holidays are times that families get to spend together, and your child probably won’t enjoy being sent to another room to get her work done alone.  Find work that you can do at the same time so that your child doesn’t feel like this is a punishment: pay some bills, write some thank-you cards, or answer some work emails.  If your child sees you making time for work, she’ll feel better about her work.

Leave plenty of time for the vacation.  Don’t forget that this is supposed to be a break from school.  Students should feel like they’ve had time to relax and enjoy themselves during their school vacations.  Allow them the time to recharge their batteries, play, and generally forget school.  Just not too much…