The question – to keep home-schooling or not during the holidays is one that parents have been asking me recently.
Parents worry that their child may be at a disadvantage when schools return for the start of next term. This is a legitimate concern but one that teachers will be expecting and should be planning for.
My feeling is that everyone has had an intensive period of learning over the past few months and that parents and students alike – of all ages – need a break. School books need to be put away, kitchen tables reclaimed for their original purpose and minds and bodies to relax and recuperate.
That said, over the summer period students do tend to lose some of what they had learned. This is expected and is why in September teachers take a few days to recap and recall work from the previous term.
Just because the books are in cold storage, does not mean that learning must stop. Formal learning might be on holidays, but now informal learning comes into its own. Top of my list is learning how to type.
Blended learning is going to be part of education from now on, particularly in second and third level. Good typing skills are becoming more important and best learned early. Typing is not on the school curriculum, so many children (& adults) use the hunt and peck method to type. I am reasonably fast to type but I do not type efficiently. The backspace and delete buttons are the two most used on my keyboard because I am a self-taught typist making lots of errors.
There is a great, free, online typing course at www.typing.com. If you need to coax your child into learning to type, explain that it will make it faster for them to google stuff and to text on their phone!
Lockdown has given many of us the opportunity of growing our own fruit and vegetables. Grow It Yourself Ireland has a fabulous free course on its website www.giy.ie . In this course, GIY founder, Mick Kelly shows how to grow 12 delicious vegetables in 12 weeks. Get the kids involved growing their own and then cooking and eating what they grew. Here children are learning organisational skills, reading skills, writing skills and patience while waiting for the vegetables to grow.
My final suggestion for learning during the summer is perfect for those cold and wet summer days; learn how to Code. There are lots of free online resources where kids of all ages can learn to code. At Wix.com you can build a free website while code.org and Scratch are excellent starting points for younger kids.
For future Elon Musks and Mark Zuckerbergs, who want something more advanced, check out a course from Harvard University’s Extension School. This free online course is an introduction to computer science. Topics include algorithms, software development, cryptography, forensics, and other applications of computing in the real world. I could give the link here, but in the spirt of encouraging learning I am going to force you to find it for yourself!
Learning is something we do all the time. The tragedy is when we start to believe that we do most of our learning in school. Summer holidays are a great opportunity to encourage independent learning. So should you keep home-schooling during the holidays? Yes, but make sure it is Home-Schooling – the informal version.
To learn more about how Hummingbird Learning Centre can help with the study skills needed for blended learning, contact Elaine on 087-2996054 or through their website www.hummingbirdlearning.com