School holidays mean sleeping in, having fun with friends, watching one’s favorite shows, and…doing homework? Definitely not, most kids would say.
From the perspective of parents, while they want their child to enjoy the holidays, especially when they’ve worked so hard for most of the school year, they also want their kids to spend their time wisely and productively.
So should parents let their children do homework on school holidays?
Let’s look at the pros and cons.
Cons: Let Kids Have Fun!
- Giving kids homework during holidays can make them feel that they’re not on a break. And yet, breaks are important to recover from stress, which can help improve academic performance. Forcing them to do homework can leave them feeling weary.
- Too much homework during the break can hamper the child’s other activities, such as playing sports or learning how to play an instrument, which are also crucial for their holistic development.
- Doing homework can limit family time. Most of the time, parents are out working while the kids go to school and tuition. It’s not everyday that the family can spend their free time together, so taking advantage of the holidays is a good way for the family to strengthen bonds.
- It can hinder them from exploring other activities and interests. The holidays can give kids a much needed break from school and a chance to pursue things they would not normally think of when they are in school.
- The child may feel that there is no change in routine. Children look forward to unstructured play and no strict schedules to follow unlike term time. Giving them school work can make them feel that there is no difference from constant formal learning.
Pros: Homework is Good for Mastery of Skills and Concepts
- Homework is a great way to gauge a child’s mastery over the concepts and skills they learned in class. Are you worried that they will forget what they’ve learned? Homework can make them aware of what they need to work on, as well as make them proud of how much they’ve learned.
- Doing homework during the holidays can help prepare the child for the next stage of learning. It can help identify learning gaps, which can be addressed before the next term starts. Parents can be given the opportunity to decide whether tuition or other enrichment classes are necessary.
- Learning can be a fun activity. If you frame homework as a chore, which should be avoided at all costs when one is supposed to be having fun, all the more that kids would lose interest in doing it. But if parents encourage the child to do maths problems, for example, as a fun way to pass the time, then they will start thinking of learning as a regular activity.
- It will hone the homework habit, which will be useful once they go back to school. Think about how much of a pain it is to convince your child to do their homework every single night. Once they get the hang of doing some school work even if it’s just for an hour each day, it will help them develop good study habits on their own.
- The right amount of homework can reinforce the learning of students and help them apply concepts and skills to different contexts. Homework can help children maintain their motivation to learn even during the holidays.
What Parents Can Do
Given the pros and cons of doing homework during the holidays, what can parents do to make their child’s school holiday memorable, yet productive at the same time?
Setting aside time for homework during the break does not mean that you’re taking away the holidays from your kids. Doing some amount of schoolwork can help children prepare mentally for when they go back to school. Besides, integrating learning into everyday activities of the child is a great way for them to think about their lessons while having fun.
It’s important to let the child know that holidays are for relaxing, so let them enjoy it! Let them do as they wish in the first few days of the holiday break. Don’t pressure them into reading school books or doing worksheets. Eventually when they’ve done what they wanted to do they will be more open to doing other things like homework.
The next step is to talk to your child about the possibility of doing some homework during the break. Get children involved in the process. For example, let them initially decide the amount and frequency of the work that they are going to do. This way they are more likely to stick to what you both agreed on.
Since they are on a holiday after all, create a schedule or routine that is not comprised of mostly studying. Set a limit to the time spent opening their schoolbooks or doing their worksheets. Try half an hour to an hour each day and see how that works for your child.
Parents can also enroll their child in holiday workshops that can help them review and practise what they learned in school. There are tuition centres that offer great programmes that can help kids learn and have fun at the same time. Since these workshops have a fixed schedule, it will help set the routine for your child. You can be sure that study time is not eating up playtime and vice versa.
As parents, make sure there’s a good balance between work and play. See to it that the homework load is not excessive. Children still need to feel refreshed and well-rested to tackle the next school year. Enjoying the holidays is, of course, important. However, there are benefits to doing some amount of schoolwork, such as helping the child better prepare for the next stage of learning. It is also crucial to maintain open communication with your child to see if the schedule is working for them. Make them feel that you want to have fun with them, too.