It is the start of half term in our household (at least for my daughter and husband, I’ll be working next week). Although I know children need a break from school, I worry that the break to the learning routine can undo some of what they’ve learnt. I have nothing to base this on as we’re only in Year 1, but I know if I stop doing something it is harder the next time I try.
Here are some of the things we did over the summer to encourage B to continue learning in the holidays.
Mythical maze summer reading challenge
The challenge was to visit the library twice and read six books. B chose some hard books, but was really motivated by the website where she could log each book she finished. She got a certificate at an award evening at the library and I loved trying out the augmented reality on my phone.
Summer with gold stars
Stickers are always popular in our house and gold stars stickers were certainly a motivator for B, and she would often sit down and complete several pages of her Parragon Gold star book at a time. I found it difficult to chose a book for B because although the books are created for a defined age range, I wasn’t sure whether the 5-6 years or 6-7 years book would be best for her. I had a good idea of her reading capabilities, but no idea where she was with maths. To reduce the risk of getting a book that was too hard or to easy I chose a Ready for School book that covered Maths, English and Phonics. It was a good choice because she could do several of the exercises on her own, but there were some that introduced new concepts such as 3D shapes which we were able to work on together.
Although we are becoming increasingly digital, I believe writing is important so I’ve encouraged B to write a diary. When we first started she would tell me what to write and then she would draw or mark make underneath. It isn’t something we do regularly and often go for months between entries but that made it more special to write and draw what she’d been doing while she was away with Granny and Grandpa, and then sharing it with us when we joined them.
The responsibility of writing postcards while on holiday was something she loved, and we ended up sending more postcards than we’ve sent in years because she wanted to keep writing them. A nice way to show writing in use and it is not all about emails and text messaging
If there is a checklist B really wants to complete it (she is definitely my daughter). So going around an attraction like Corfe Castle is great fun because there are questions to answers, brass rubbings to do, plus you may see a steam train – yes we completed the questionnaire earlier in the year but that does not ruin her enjoyment and hopefully through repetition she is learning some history. We also looked for squirrels, woodpeckers, owls and fairy doors at Blue Pool.
This may seem a strange one, but B became obsessed with the monkey bars because she wants to be able to do them like her friend. We took the opportunity to teach her about perseverance and encouraged her every time we went near a park. She made good progress during the holiday, but unfortunately didn’t quite make it to the end; something we’re still working on.
Did this learning in the holidays pay off? I think it has because it has been great sharing quality time with B and showing her that we are interested in what she is learning. Plus in the half term just finished she has progressed two reading bands.
Over this half term we will be meeting family at a stately home and B will attending her first dance sessions. It will be interesting to hear what she thinks compared to her weekly ballet class, particularly the one dancing to pop music. Not exactly in the holidays, but soon after half term, we are taking both children to see some live music at a Megson show.
How do you encourage learning in your children? What are your plans for the half term holidays?
Disclaimer: we were given the Paragon Gold Star book free, but our thoughts are our own.