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14/06/21How to help children catch up with school work in the summer holidays

After over a year of uncertainty and homeschooling, you may be worried about the impact the pandemic has had on your child’s education. With the summer holidays just weeks away, the break could provide a chance for children to catch up with lessons they may have missed.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, two-thirds of parents are concerned about lost learning. A third of parents with primary school-aged children worry that it will take a year or more for their child to catch up. Some 9% of parents with secondary school-aged children worry they will never be able to make up for the pandemic’s impact on their learning. It’s not surprising that over 90% of parents are in favour of policies that support helping children catch up with learning and promote wellbeing.

Making some school work part of your summer holiday routine this year could provide children with a chance to close the education gap. Here are seven ways you can encourage children to learn this summer.

1. Speak to your child’s school

Your first step should be to speak to your child’s teacher. The school may already have resources in place to support home learning over the holidays or be offering summer classes your child can be part of. The teacher will also be able to point out the key areas to focus on to fill any areas your child may have missed out on in the last year or where there are gaps in their knowledge.

2. Consider if a tutor could help your child

One-on-one tutoring can help bridge gaps in your child’s skills and knowledge quicker as a tutor will be able to tailor lessons and tasks to them. If your child is struggling in a particular area, a few lessons throughout the summer can make all the difference. From in-person tutors to online support, there are different options to explore if tutoring is something you think your child would benefit from.

3. Create a dedicated learning space

If you had the space to create a dedicated area for schoolwork last year, maintaining this can help provide a space for children to focus on learning. Having a space to sit down comfortably with few distractions can make all the difference and help your child achieve the best results they can. It can also create a distinction between when they’re learning and relaxing, helping them to switch off once they’ve finished.

4. Make the most of online resources

There’s an abundance of online resources designed to support learning. Quizzes, short films, and activities online can help you mix up home learning to keep it fresh and interesting. Your child’s school may have some suggestions of online resources they use. Another place to look is BBC Bitesize, which has lessons for pupils aged 4 to 14, covering everything from maths to design and technology.

5. Step away from the desk at home

Learning at home doesn’t have to mean sitting at a desk all day working through a booklet. There are ways you can add a fun, interactive element. One of the subjects that lends itself well to this is science. Getting outdoors to learn more about the natural world can make it far more interesting, or why not turn your kitchen into a science lab for the afternoon? If you’re not sure where to start with experiments, head online for some inspiration. You can find some examples perfect for primary school-aged children here.

6. Plan an educational day out

After months of being stuck inside, attractions and venues around the UK are slowly beginning to open. Planning a family day out to an educational attraction provides children with a great way to learn without having to sit at a desk. From your local library to an interactive museum, there are numerous options. Many places will be holding events during the summer holidays too. Remember to check what the restrictions are and keep in mind you may need to book in advance.

7. Learn something as a family

Learning something together can make it far more fun and allows you to spend time together. It could be as simple as enjoying a new book series together, taking turns to read out loud or planning a weekly chat about what happens in the story. Another great option is to learn a language together – there are plenty of free online tools and books that can help. Link it to your next holiday destination or a foreign film to provide some motivation to keep going.

Don’t forget about wellbeing

Catching up academically is important, but many children will have missed other aspects of school too, from being involved in team sports to making friends. Planning activities that support wellbeing and development in other areas of their lives can help recover some of what may have been lost during the pandemic, and help children feel refreshed and focused when they do tackle school work.

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