Get Ahead: Use Winter Break to Prepare your Student for Next Semester

Winter break is a student’s favorite time of the year. Two weeks (in high school, more than a month in college) with no school, no homework, and certainly no stress. In addition, Christmas and New Year’s bring parties, events, and distractions from the workload of the year. In light of all of this, it may seem to be an impossible task to get your son or daughter to continue to push ahead in their studies during their time off. But it is exactly the right time of year to help your student make a plan and get ahead for the upcoming semester.

Take Advantage of the Winter Shut-in

Well, for starters, winter break is just that — a break. It’s the one time during the school year when students have no classes or studies in progress to worry about. The stress of next week’s test or an upcoming project is no longer a factor. In addition, since they’re in between semesters, students have the time to work on things that they want and need to work on, rather than things that they have to work on. A proactive student can get their best work done over the winter holidays.

So, where do you as parents come in? Actually, this is the one time that you’ll be able to easily get a hold of your student. Unlike summer break, when the nice weather makes kids more likely to go outside, winter break finds students spending a lot of time at home. Take the quality time you’re enjoying with your child and apply some of it to their education

Find Activities for the Home Alone

Community classes that are simultaneously recreational and educational keep your student active during their break and still learning. Public libraries, though more and more outmoded in today’s society, allow your student to take a break from the Internet and physically go through a wide spectrum of research on all areas of academia. Check out educational podcasts, as well. They’re interesting, fun, and easy to access from home.

Tutoring is also a viable option. Working with someone who is a great match personality-wise for your child can help your student accomplish academic goals more effectively. When finding a tutor, think about what your student has struggled with in the past. Does math generally challenge them? Writing essays? Science labs? Take a look at which of their classes next semester cover those areas and select a tutor that is familiar with those topics. Since the student is not in class, this is a good opportunity for a tutor to help with the student’s general learning methods, so they can be adequately prepared for next semester.

Prep and Plan

Take some time to go over your child’s schedule for the next semester or their upcoming projects, and see what subjects interest them most. Buy new school supplies together, prepare folders and notebooks for each class, and label them accordingly. Make it fun rather than a frustrating, last minute shopping trip the day before classes begin again. Most importantly, ask your child if they have any questions or concerns about any of these classes. That way, you can gauge what subjects they feel least prepared in. If you can spend some time familiarizing your child with the subject, he won’t feel overwhelmed when he returns to class.

It’s fine for your student to enjoy their break; they are on vacation, after all. But a little preparation can go a long way when heading back to the classroom in the new year. Make a plan and start the preparation while you have their full attention. Your child may rally against this at first, but when it comes time for their first evaluation, they’ll be all smiles. 

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