After what felt like an incredibly long winter and a spring that was just as difficult, summer is finally here. We have all been through an awful lot over the last year or so, but it looks like things are starting to return to normal, and we are getting out there and making the most of it. While it has been a wildly chaotic year for adults, with plenty of job worries, figuring out how to work from home, and making sure everyone in the family stayed happy and healthy, it has been particularly hard on our kids. There has been very little in the way of normal routine, many have been switched to home-schooling learning, and visits with friends and family have been limited if they have happened at all.
Now that we are heading back into something resembling normality, we want to make sure that we give our kids the best possible chance to continue progressing on their academic journeys as smooth as possible. It can be a hard line to walk when you don’t want them to lose momentum, but you don’t want to put too much pressure on them either. When you are getting your children ready for exams and big tests, you want to make sure that they know how important these things are, but you don’t want to instill a fear of failure in them either. So, how can you help your children to learn outside the classroom in a way that feels fun and engaging and not like punishment? Here are a few tips to help you get started.
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Hit The Library
One of the main reasons children can start to lose interest in reading is that they can sometimes be given very strict instructions on what that reading should be. If they start to feel that reading is purely for school, then, of course, they will find another way to entertain themselves in their downtime. Reading widely and for fun is an important part of any child’s education, and there is no better place to explore the world of literature than your local library.
Go To The Museum
The long hot days of summer can be a bit of a dead zone in terms of family time. You’ve relaxed, you have gone on vacation, but you don’t want everyone to be sat around watching the TV all day. A museum trip is always an excellent choice to keep your kids’ minds active and to help them learn about something completely new and unexpected. A good science museum, for example, will have interactive displays and educational tools that will present what they may have previously considered being a dry and dusty entertaining and engaging way.
While you never want to put too much pressure on your kids, the fact is that some exams do have a real impact on the next few years of their lives. The 11+ exams, for example, will determine whether your child can get into the kind of grammar and independent school that you want for them. If you know that there are some key areas that your child needs help with, an online tutor could be a much better option than sitting them down with a textbook. 11 plus online learning can be tailored to target those subjects and classes that your child finds tricky, and one-on-one classes can be much more engaging and productive. Test Teach offers both online and offline tutorials for the 11+ exams, and they have helped thousands of children find a place at an independent or grammar school.
Look For The Everyday Opportunities
If you are worried about keeping your child’s brain active during the long summer break, then think about how little everyday things could offer some stimulation. For example, take them to the supermarket with you and tell them how many meals you need to prepare for how many people. Get them thinking about what ingredients will be needed. How much has been reduced from the original price of those tomatoes to get it to the sale price? And it’s not just about the sums and recipes. This is a great opportunity to remind them about the importance of shopping responsibly and of making environmentally friendly choices.
Get Out In The Garden
Every parent knows that it can be a battle to get your kids off the sofa, especially during the holidays, but your garden could be a fantastic addition to their learning environment if approached in the right way. The most obvious example would be to get them involved in planting seeds and talking to them about how to grow everything from vegetables to fruit trees. You could install a bird feeder and keep a log of all the feathered visitors. But it’s also an area where you can engage in some practical learning without making too much of a mess! The garden is a great location for science experiments, from fizzy chemistry demonstrations to tests of gravity that may or may not involve a water balloon.
Think About Learning A New Language Together
When the world first started locking down early last year, we were all looking for ways to keep our brains busy and avoid doom scrolling. One of the most popular activities was learning a new language. Now, our progress may have been inconsistent since March 2020, but if you are looking for fun ways to keep your kids engaged with learning, this could be just the thing. Making it a family activity will frame it as something fun, particularly if you are learning the language of somewhere you are planning on visiting on holiday. Think about what TV shows and films you could be watching to add a little extra fun and auditory learning. This does not need to be the kind of activity that is rigorously tested, but a word or two on a daily basis can really make a difference.
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