School holidays present a fantastic opportunity to extend learning and stretch your child’s mind in new directions. During the rest of school year, the focus may be on just a few selected subjects but summer holidays are an opportunity to explore more. There are many different and fun ways to keep learning through the summer. We offer up a few great options below.
This is an easy one, but something most people overlook. It’s no coincidence that students who read the most are also the ones who do best in their exams. In fact, the British Cohort study (which has been following thousands of students for several decades) found that frequent reading increases a child’s spelling, vocabulary and maths results.
In order to keep learning through summer, it’s vital for your child to keep reading. Encourage checking out new topics and more challenging text than they tackle during term time, however, not at the expense of enjoyment. It’s far more important that they read than what they read.
Summer is a great time to catch up on any subjects in which your child may need extra help. You could consider gathering a group of your child’s friends together and sharing some catch-up sessions. Many tutorial centres will let you form a private group if you meet their minimum student number for a class. If you follow these lessons with lunch in the park, they’ll become a fun part of the holiday with fantastic long term benefits. One big benefit could be returning to school the next year on a strong footing.
In Hong Kong’s hyper-academic environment, it can be easy to forget that there are subjects outside those on the standard curriculum. However, schools in the rest of the world offer a more broad range of subjects and often put more emphasis on the ones we’d consider peripheral. In this global economy, it’s important to consider what students are learning elsewhere and ensure your child is competitive on the world stage.
Check out courses in something your child has expressed an interest in, such as robotics, baking, psychology or drama, and let them discover more about it this summer. Even if you can’t locate a class here in Hong Kong, you’re sure to find something online. Encouraging children to follow their interests is also going to have great long term benefits, as they’ll become more self-motivated and strengthen their passion for learning.
Building up soft skills
Summer is the perfect time to work on soft skills – those that will equip your child for future success. These skills can be difficult to cultivate amidst the stress of term time, but summer affords many opportunities to develop things like motivation, decisiveness and flexibility.
Soft skills are most easily taught by example, so take some time this summer to model these for your kids and share the experience with the whole family. You could focus on one new activity (such as horse riding, playing an instrument, or painting) and practise together regularly. Or you could take it in turns to choose something you learn together each week (such as origami, touch typing or magic tricks), and even try teaching each other. Pick things you know will meet the strengths of different people in your family. This provides opportunities to offer praise. Another tip is to keep a positive attitude with any struggles which can demonstrate to your child how rewarding perseverance is.
By choosing some of these options for your child this summer, you’re sure to give them a fun and stimulating few weeks. I hope you enjoy seeing your young learner flourish as much as my colleagues and I do!
Willow Hewitt is the Head of English for i-Learner Education Centre. She has been teaching in Hong Kong for several years.
*Article updated 23-06-22