Monday 5 August 2013

Keeping Up with School Work in the Holidays

It's not like the old days you know. 

In the holidays of old (or to be more exact when I was kid in the late eighties and nineties), we were quite happy to continue our education via the medium of watching Why Don't You. The very idea of school work- other than rushing through a diary two days before the beginning of term- filled us with indescribable horror. We simply didn't get given homework, and of course there were the keener lot who had tutors for the summer,  but the rest of us spent our six weeks letting all we'd learnt in the last year fade out in a battle of educational maths verses working out how far our holiday pocket money would go at the arcade (in my case- not far).

Mini and Littlest are different though.

They both came home with packs of "suggested" "ideas" for "fun activities" which you may or may not like to do with your child. There are phonics websites to look up (giving you what level to use). There was suggestions for maths.

You also had the added incentive (or bribe) to make a holiday diary of some sort, with the best one (gulp) winning a prize (double gulp).

Being of the eighties "mooch about and see what happens" school of holidays, I've not planned much, but I do agree I'd like the Brats to not sit and do nothing of an academic nature in the holidays. 
Littlest is slightly behind his peers down to starting half way through the year, and it bothers him quite a bit being that Mini is an all singing all dancing education lovey. However, even Mini is finding my nemesis maths a chore. It's not that she can't do it. It's that she hates doing it.

How do you get two kids who want to play in the paddling pool, swing on their swing set and watch copious amounts of TV to do some work then?

Well, I'm not ashamed reader to say bribery is a great option.

I have decreed that, if they do half an hour of writing and maths, and 20 minutes of reading per day, they can get a treat. I have not specified the treat, but the idea that they may get something is enough to get them to comply.

Don't worry though, there are cheap methods to help keep their brains occupied.

Mini brought home all her old Year 1 exercise books, so I've been able to look ahead to what Littlest will be doing.

I also asked what they do in class. 

Littlest uses a tray of rice- your normal kitchen variety- to make shapes and letters with his finger. Whereas I don't have a big water and sand table, I do have a few old baking trays laying about, so that works just as well, and limits mess if you put it in a tray with sides on a flat surface.

I bought two big A4 writing pads from my local pound store, and every day I write out a few maths problems for Mini, as well as looking back at spelling tests she didn't do so well in in the last year so she can practise these.

She also has her written weekly diary, but I've set her up an online multimedia diary too, complete with videos and slideshows of photos of what she has been up to. Hopefully the school will like it too, and she may win that prize (trust me, I hate competition in schools, but Mini has been told about it by her teacher so now she wants to win).

Littlest has what the school call "Humpy Bumpys" to practise, which I write out in a highlighter pen for him to trace over.

One of their treats was yesterdays Silent Sunday- they got to sleep in a tent in Mini's room, but you can have trips to the park or soft play, or get them interested in library visits, that way they can hire a book to read for their daily reading for free.

Yes, we'd all like to have 6 weeks like the old days, but in a world where education is seen as so much more important from a young age, you've kind of got to join in. 


  1. I think that as long as the kids are happy to do some "work" during the hols, it's not a bad thing. When my son was in primary I'd take him to the library to get out books and read, we made scrapbooks of what we did during the holidays, and I'd ask him to write down what it was we did to get the handwriting practice in.

    It's sad that there is so much pressure on children from a young age...let the kids be kids!

  2. i need to do a bit more with mine over the holidays! been relaxing really as we are still at the start of the holidays!!

  3. This is such a lovely idea. I am not looking forward to all the work! I know I am awful :P
    I was from the same era and we did all things that were not school related! x


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