* Should kids do schoolwork during a break?

calendar 2Schoolwork during the winter break?  What?  As one kid said to me, “Are you kidding?”  If you’ve followed this blog, you know I am generally opposed to daily homework.  But working during a school break, especially one that is two weeks long, has its benefits.  Who could benefit from schoolwork during a break?  And where would this work come from?

For kids who lag far behind their peers:  These are usually kids with learning disabilities who need to invest strategically-timed effort to reduce that gap and retain skills.  They are kids who are very much aware of their memory weaknesses and have the motivation to keep going.  The work is individualized and includes much computer-based instruction.  This plan works well for students if their parents have to leave them in the care of older siblings or other caregiver.  Students in this category typically earn a reward for completing assignments.  They may check in with me during the break.

For kids who need a consistent routine:  I’ve created work packets for kids on the autism spectrum who do well with some “schoolwork” time during a break.  These are the kids who are at loose ends without their usual school day (and their parents, may start to unravel, as well).  The packets are filled with familiar drills, activities, and personal messages from me.  In fact, in coordination with their parents, if the work comes from me, the kids will do it.  Otherwise, all bets are off.  The goal of these packets is not so much academic as it is functional.  The packets typically include links to computer-based instruction as well.  Not all ASD kids will respond well to this plan, especially those twice exceptional kids (see below), but it’s been very helpful for some.

Which kids do not benefit from schoolwork during a long break?

Kids who are burned out from school work.  These are often the kids who are also anxious about their school performance.  Twice exceptional kids typically fall in this group.  The last thing they need is a reminder of dreaded school days.  Instead, they should occupy their time with lots of physical activity and special interests.  This population is already at risk for melting down before school ends, so they need to “forget” about school for a while.

One note: These guidelines are for a two-week break.  The longer summer break has unique pros and cons for many special needs kids.

6 thoughts on “* Should kids do schoolwork during a break?

  1. I love reading your blog. The main thing my ADD son, Caleb, needs is reading practice and memory work practice. I think I can squeeze some of that into the break…Read this book, and I’ll let you watch your new movie…My other son could benefit from a few math drills, but oh the whining i will have to endure…

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  2. For most kids in the United States the school year will be ending in a little over a month and summer vacation will begin. Some kids won’t touch a text book until September hits and they’ll take the entire summer to get a break from school work.

    However other children will use their summer break to brush up on certain lessons or take actual classes to get ahead of the new school year. But is going to classes during the summer and having year-around schooling the best thing for kids? Don’t they need a break?

    Clearly, there are benefits for some kids who continue their studies during the summer, but is school work during breaks necessary for all kids?

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    • To answer your last question, most kids don’t need to work in structured lessons during a break. Those kids will probably read (and should be encouraged to) and for some, game-like reviews of rote math facts is also helpful. There’s a lot to be found online. Thanks for sharing!

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    • Hello Mihran, Almost all the Mumbai kids take extra classes during the vacation (in the last 2 years of school, as these marks remain on their academic record permanently) I teach kids who have no special needs, and i find that most of these children (especially the younger grades) often get so totally unused to a routine, if they don’t do a little work over the holiday period. Resulting in them giving trouble to study, when school starts or getting stressed because they can’t cope. The study schedule for school kids is quite heavy, so children who do a 30 minute to 1 hour revision (of subjects they find difficult) find they cope very comfortably with school. Mostly parents find a 1 week study free break at a time is ok, or even a 2 week break once a year, but anything more than that often is a problem. Some innovative parents are able to find study related games, and quizzes for their kids, in place of study, but most don’t.
      I find myself talking to parents about regular study, because children who can’t cope in school get less time for piano practise and their stress levels affect piano playing. Over here at least, almost all kids benefit from a little holiday study, resulting in less stress coping when school starts.

      Liked by 1 person

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