As the holiday break approaches, teachers at Ohio Connections Academy (OCA), the statewide K-12 virtual public school, are encouraging parents to find ways to keep their children engaged in learning activities so they return to school ready to learn.
Studies have shown with long breaks, students can lose knowledge and skills they’ve developed during the academic year. However, staying engaged in activities that require them to use those skills will help prepare them to return to school sharp and ready to pick up where they left off.
“The holiday break is a time for students to relax and have a little fun with friends and family,” said Christy Lamb, OCA High School Assistant Principal. “However with a little planning, parents can engage their children with activities that include reading, research and problem solving, and reinforce the skills and concepts they have recently learned.”
Ohio Connections Academy faculty and teachers have come up with some ideas to stimulate thought and or exercise while students are home for the holidays.
· Create kitchen fun: Cooking this winter break? Have your student help. Holiday recipes use math and fine motor skills for things like measuring and computing the cost of ingredients. Want a challenge? Ask your child to double the recipe, or while on a shopping trip have kids compute the costs of ingredients to determine the price of a given recipe.
· Write family and friends: Personalized holiday greeting cards and letters to relatives and friends will keep writing skills active. Having students write thank you notes can also promote social skills. Explore where the card recipient lives and help build on your student’s geography skills by finding that town on a map.
· Family research: The holidays bring many family members together. Encourage children to trace their family tree and ask family members to share stories to help improve writing and research skills.
· Make the perfect present: Gift wrapping helps enhance math skills by using a tape measure or ruler to figure out the correct size of wrapping paper to use. Making wrapping paper out of newspaper and grocery bags, ribbons and other materials from around the house sparks creativity. Encourage students to take holiday photos and create a scrap book for a gift or use photos as gift tags.
· Travel or take a learning stay-cation: Car games are a great way to test geography knowledge—have students name all 50 states and their capitals or play the license plate game. For added fun, print out and take along Ohio Connections Academy’s Quiz Bowl Challenge. Before leaving, have your child chart the route and calculate the distance and duration. Not traveling this holiday? Stick closer to home and visit a local museum, library or other educational sites and encourage kids to journal about their day.
· Keep reading: U.S. Department of Education research indicates reading to children is “the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading.” If traveling, have your student read about the places they will visit or choose an author who is from those locations. Winter-themed stories also make for a great read this time of year.
· Get moving: Just because school’s out doesn’t mean there’s no recess. In addition to the countless health benefits of physical activity, active games and sports can help strengthen social skills, memory, and analytic abilities.
Ohio Connections Academy is a free, fully-online public school that students in grades K-12 attend from home. Ohio Connections Academy delivers high-quality, personalized education for students that combines certified teachers , a proven curriculum, as well as technology tools and community experiences—online and in person—to create a supportive environment for children who want an individualized approach to education.
Enrollment for the Ohio Connections Academy 2013-14 school year is currently open. For more information, visit the school’s website www.OhioConnectionsAcademy.com.