summer holiday homework

Summer holiday homework ideas that encourage creativity and foster a thirst for knowledge


20 July, 2022

Autor: Cătălina Iordache 

Experiments, cross-curricular activities, microlearning, hands-on learning, deepening knowledge - the perspectives from which we can approach learning during the summer holidays are countless. The summer months mean free time, travelling, fun and days without alarm clocks for children. But because the holidays offer youngsters the luxury of time, they can invest some of it in something very valuable: self-development. And this can also be done through the intensely debated summer holiday homework. 

Summer holiday homework - beneficial or superfluous?

When it comes to holiday homework, teachers, parents and students divide into two antagonistic camps: some argue that homework keeps children learning at a beneficial pace, reducing the loss of subject matter that is typical of holiday periods, and helps them consolidate the information they have accumulated during the school year. The other camp believes that youngsters should take a total break from school activities and enjoy a well-deserved holiday.

Study: Vacation homework lessens knowledge loss, a phenomenon typical of long school breaks

Summer holidays are not only about lots of play, free time and relaxation, but also about learning skills and losing knowledge gained during the school year.

A study by researcher and educational psychologist Dacian Dolean on the impact of homework on school performance found that holiday homework can counteract the regressive effect of skills learned during the school year. One mention is very important here: the volume of homework did not influence the outcome, and the study's author urges teachers to be balanced, pointing out that a lack of homework, but equally a high volume of homework, has negative effects on learning.

Pupils who are actively involved in their own educational process acquire valuable collaboration, planning and leadership skills

Today, children learn new things at every step. When little ones are drawn to a subject, learning happens with pleasure and effortlessly. Teachers who understand the benefits of learner-guided learning let pupils choose their favourite subject to develop to achieve their goal.
Learner-guided learning includes students in planning, implementation and evaluation. Involving students in these decisions will put more work and responsibility on their shoulders, which can be a good thing. To facilitate student-led learning, teachers need to get comfortable with changing their leadership style from directive to consultative. That means a shift from the attitude of "I know best" to "Let's find a way to implement your approach into the classroom learning strategy."
This type of learning makes students co-creators of their own learning, involving them in decisions about what, when and how they learn. Students thus gain not only academic knowledge, but also the self-direction, curiosity, creativity and collaboration skills they need to succeed in life.

Learning by doing - the most effective way to retain knowledge

The summer holidays can be a good opportunity to tackle the topics covered during school in a practical and non-disciplinary way. Children can practice working with numbers by calculating the restaurant bill or how many seashells fit on the sole of a beach slipper or what day the half-term holiday falls on, for example.  They can practise their reading skills by trying to look at the menu themselves and ordering, or by reading explanations of the different sights they visit. They can do the same in a foreign language if they go on holiday abroad. To get them to learn more about animals, pupils can be encouraged to design a board game based on animal habitats and characteristics.

Engaging reading is more beneficial than endless notebooks of holiday homework

Books inspire children and make their holidays more enjoyable. When teachers approach reading creatively and with a holiday spirit, students are captivated.  A list of questions about the action in the book will pique their curiosity. A first chapter read togethe in class can encourage them to read further. The prospect of a whole-class play will persuade them to discover the story.

Assignments that have a positive influence on education are short, simple, involve the family and are tailored to pupils' interests

Family involvement in education is the single most important predictor of success in school and in life. By being involved, parents commit to prioritizing their child's educational goals, and teachers commit to listening and providing a space for collaboration with parents.
Projects in which parents also participate are the best ways to create a positive learning environment for each student. Children can interview parents to ask them about their childhood, their profession, how they overcame a difficult situation, their most exciting trip or their favourite book.

Education doesn't stop at the end of the school term. Kinderpedia supports teachers in their work and brings flexibility and dynamism to teaching activities. At the same time, it opens a window for communication and collaboration between school and family.
On Kinderpedia, it is handy for teachers to keep in touch with their pupils. Teachers can upload homework topics right from their mobile, and even schedule them all at once for the entire holiday. Students can upload homework in different formats - documents, photos, videos, audio recordings. Teachers can mark them directly on their phones and give feedback to children with just a few clicks, no matter where they are.

The benefits of the digital learning era - microlearning and collaborative learning

According to RPS research, micro-level learning improves concentration and supports long-term retention by up to 80%. This means we should use it not as a stand-alone learning vehicle, but rather as a strategy that complements the learning styles and methods we usually adopt. 
When content is broken down into small sections, learning becomes easy and accessible, and learners can follow the course at their own pace. These concentrated learning 'pills' facilitate good retention because they eliminate redundant information from the start. Another benefit to consider when talking about microlearning is that this type of learning is accessible anywhere and anytime, maximising results.
Collaborative learning involves working closely together to complete a common project or assignment. Although there are fewer opportunities to meet during the holidays than during the school year, students can enjoy many benefits when they learn together.
Socially, collaborative learning develops an understanding of diversity, helps develop a social support system for pupils and creates opportunities to practise communication and cooperation.
Psychologically, this type of learning increases children's self-esteem and reduces anxiety.
At an academic level, cooperative learning promotes critical thinking, models problem-solving techniques and actively involves students in the learning process.
Students will also be able to benefit from these advantages of collaborative learning during the summer holidays, when they could prepare homework that challenges them to decide on the structure, theme, content and conclusions of more complex projects.  
The summer holiday is therefore a good opportunity for students to explore areas of interest to them or to discover information about new and unfamiliar topics.

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