Spring Break Strategies

So, what are you doing for spring break?

Hi again friends!

Well, here we are – the first day of Spring Break here in Central Texas. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and your kids…are home…with you…all day…for the entire week…so, what are you doing for spring break?

 

A lot of parents ask me to give their kids some extra practice to do during breaks, and I’m happy to do so! Keeping those neurons frequently firing is a great way to keep the brain in shape! But just like the muscles in your body, your brain needs a rest too. So, how do you keep a perfect balance of the two? I have three words for you – Planning, Planning and Planning!

 

Decide what you will work on ahead of time

Pick out a good book that you and your children can read together. Yes, it’s OK to still read to your kids, even if they know how to read on their own. Being read to is still a great way to learn comprehension, expand vocabulary, and develop a love for stories. Or, one of my favorite ways to share a book with a student is to “Partner Read.” You read a page, I read a page – or a chapter, or a paragraph, or whatever – just keep it bounding back and forth between the two of you. Visit your library or discount book store together to find something that will be interesting and that you can break up into sections over the week. Maybe you found some great math flash cards, or a cool math app to work on. Whatever material you pick, decide ahead of time how much you will do each day. You and your kids will know what is expected each day; plus, it will give you a sense of accomplishment once you’ve finished that one little section each time.

 

Make learning part of your daily schedule

Just as important as brushing your teeth and eating meals – doing a little bit of brain work each day is essential to growth and skill mastery, and it can be made into a daily routine. It only takes 10-30 minutes a day of skill review to keep the brain active. Depending on how old your kiddo(s) are – adjust the time to fit your needs. Schedule it. Plan on “10 minutes after breakfast and before going out to play.” or “20 minutes before bed” or even as specific as “it’s 1:30 – time to do some math facts for 30 minutes!” You don’t have to do a whole lot if you’re working just a little each day. Don’t wait until Friday (or even worse, Sunday night before school is back in session!) to work on those multiplication facts, or read a book. It’s best if you do a little at a time.

 

But what about vacations?

Go on vacation! Have a blast! Say “Hi!” to Mickey for me, or your Grandma Josephine, or whomever you’re spending time with. Vacations don’t have to mean you can’t do some fun learning too. And hey, if you can’t get to brain work one day because you’re too busy with surfing lessons – that’s totally cool! Again, just plan ahead of time. Know what your limitations are, know what kind of extra time you’ll have, and try to work in some practice. Have a long car ride? Play the Alphabet game with billboards. Play the 50 states game with other drivers’ licence plates. Read a book. Get a recorded book the whole family can listen too! Challenge each other with math facts, or bring along some Sudoku puzzles. It doesn’t have to be worksheets to be considered learning! Which brings me to my final suggestion…

 

Ugh, worksheets!

Yes, worksheets do offer a great, portable way of getting in some extra practice. But there are so many other ways of practicing. Be creative. Find a game. Have you heard of this awesome site called TeachersPayTeachers? It’s designed by teachers for teachers. Teachers spend so much of their time preparing fun, engaging lessons and activities for their students, and this site allows us to share those activities with each other. But, you don’t have to be a teacher to purchase materials. You do have to sign up with an account though. AND there are a TON of FREE games and activities on there. You should check it out. Here is my store where I am in the beginnings of adding resources: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/My-Tutoring-Bee

 

Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful Spring Break! Please let me know what you did to keep the brain active in the comments below!

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