VACATIONS! The first thing that comes in a child’s mind when he/she comes across this word is FUN! Vacations are all about long playing hours, watching a lot of TV, going on a trip with family, sleeping and relaxing but most importantly, NO STUDYING!
Vacations are perhaps the only time when a child does not have to wake up early in the morning, complete homework or study for exams. It is truly a shortcoming of our education system that a child actually starts hating the academic process and wishes for a way out.
But, the question is: Can studies be completely ignored by students during vacations? Should they be given this absolute freedom to just have fun and not worry about their academics? For a lot of you, the first instinct would be to say yes because after all, they are children! Why burden them with so much homework!
However, a close introspection might make you change your mind. Think of it like this. Imagine you first learned how to use a new computer software. You learned all the theory behind it. You gave a recall test which proved that you have truly understood the theory. But, nowhere did you get to apply it in your day-to-day life. In fact, you took a break for about 3 months where you completely stopped reading the material on the new software. Do you think when you resume working on the software after those 3 months will you be able to directly and easily remember everything again? Wouldn’t that break somewhere hinder your progress more?
Now, imagine this! If in those 3 months, you would have played a fun game, like a quiz or an online game, which was based on that software which made you apply that software, would you actually have fun AND remember the theory behind that software better? Nowhere would you feel like you were ever burdened with work but at the same time, you would learn and remember so many aspects of the software now that you have applied what you have learned!
In fact, research on the brain and different studies on how a human brain remembers better has shown that material to which an individual relates to, is remembered the best by the same individual. (You can read more about this research by looking for material on ‘Levels of Processing’ model by Craik and Lockhart online).
So, how do we create such an environment? The answer is simple: “Interactive vacation camps with hands on activities!”
Instead of the cliché that kids get to play during vacation lets change that to making sure our kids learn a new skill every vacation either cooking or trying a new sport or joining a camp related to adventure or science or dance. There are tons of options out there to explore, so as parents let’s make sure we gift our kids not just a playful vacation but a valuable one too.