How to keep learning alive (and fun) this winter break
posted by: Guest Blogger
While students across Colorado are eagerly counting down the days until winter break, parents may be wondering how they’ll keep their young scholars learning while out of the classroom. Though many of the days ahead will be filled with holiday glee, learning shouldn’t stop during a break from school.
As a mom and an educator for the past 17 years, I know that students might not be very interested in schoolwork over their winter break. The key is to find ways to enjoy your time off as a family and continue learning at the same time.
At Colorado Connections Academy online public schools we take a personalized approach to learning for all students, evaluating each student’s learning style, skills, and interests and developing an academic road map for success. You can take this same approach to winter learning, tailoring activities to your individual child’s interests and finding any opportunity to bring learning experiences to life.
Here are some of my tried-and-true activities to reinforce learning over the winter break while spending some quality family time together:
Family tree time
As families come together for the holidays, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about what makes your own family unique. Have students sit down with family members and interview them to create a family tree. Or, start with immediate family and research answers to questions like, “what were the top news stories when grandpa was born?”, “who was the President?”, “where did they live and how did they live?” and so on.
Read, read, and read!
Visit your local library and search for authors who specialize in winter themes or books with winter settings. Perhaps there’s a book about winter traditions around the world, or a novel set during a historic snowstorm? You can also take this a step further and have your student write their own winter-themed story with their own illustrations.
Take learning to the kitchen
Baking or cooking is a fun way to learn about fractions and measurements while making something tasty. You can also explore the ingredients in your recipe. Look up the difference between baking powder and baking soda, or read about yeast and learn how some types of dough can conduct electricity!
Be your own meteorologist
Explore the science of weather as a family. Students can measure snow totals, monitor the temperatures outside, or research the area’s past weather conditions using a farmer’s almanac. Once measurements are completed, they can put on their own weather forecast at home or set predictions for the rest of the winter break.
In Colorado, there are so many opportunities to get outside. Go on a neighborhood walk or find a local trail. Keep your eyes open for wildlife, and research the animals you saw when you return home. Collect sticks and rocks while on your adventure, and use your newly found items for a fun art project. Or, make a scavenger hunt list for specific items to find on your hike, and even challenge each other to a scavenger hunt contest.
At Colorado Connections Academy, we know that students gain an even deeper understanding of subjects when they can explore these subjects outside of the traditional classroom setting. Many families tell me that the flexibility of online school allows their students to pursue educational activities like these regardless of the time of year, helping to make learning more relatable, meaningful, and fun. Regardless of your student’s school option, try out a few of these activities with your family, and you’ll soon find that there are fun learning opportunities available around every corner.
Chaille Hymes is Executive Director of Colorado Connections Academy, a network of tuition-free online public schools serving students in grades K-12 statewide. The schools’ individualized approach to learning combines state-certified teachers, an award-winning curriculum, technology tools and socialization opportunities. For more information, visit www.ColoradoConnectionsAcademy.com.