As you read this article, our children will be beginning their summer holidays. No formal daily school life or lessons, and an endless period of summertime ahead.
Many parents grasp this time and plan a variety of holidays, daily excursions, catching up with relatives in order to embrace this precious quality time together.
Others find that this time is a struggle, having to juggle work, childcare and finding activities that won’t break the bank and will keep all ages amused.
Many parents are also concerned about the age-old dilemma of “is it a time to continue learning or should kids be allowed to be kids?”
No one wants to feel that they are counting down the minutes until their children return to school! We want to enjoy both our children and our own summer too! Research shows that consolidating learning during this period of time is a very good idea; however, it should be carried out in a more informal way and be inspired by the learner.
For example, if your child needs practice with learning the times tables, now is the time to achieve this through multimedia. Use an iPad to practice on Apps such as ‘Hit the Buzzer’.
Learning will not feel like regimented learning, and by the end of the summer, with regular practice, the learning will be clear to observe.
‘Khan Academy’ is also an excellent App for children to practise a wide range of subjects in a fun and interactive way.
Older children should be encouraged to look again at their last year’s work and summer is an ideal time to focus on areas that require further study.
Having a one-to-one tutor for a subject that requires reinforcement during the summer will stand your child in very good stead when they return to school for the new school year.
Equally, students who are entering examination years should buy their set books in advance and read through them, familiarising themselves with the content, and spending time on areas that they need to expand their knowledge.
This allows the learner to take control of their own learning journey and, most importantly, feel in control and confident when they return to school after the summer break.
Summer is also the time to read, read and read some more! I am a passionate advocate of encouraging children of all ages to take this time to foster their love of reading. It is so important that all children and adults alike take the opportunity to indulge themselves in the world of books.
Allowing children to select books that they are interested in is also very important. It is a chance to move away from a prescribed reading programme and to learn all about something that fascinates them.
Of course, reading is not just about picture books or novels or biographies. Reading magazines, graphic novels and even the Portugal Resident are all examples of solid reading matter, as are travel blogs, recipe books and the daily newspaper!
Be it online or physical books, reading should be one of life’s greatest pleasures. As adults and role models throughout this summer, we need to express our own love of reading, taking time to indulge in a good book, show our children a fascinating article or making time to read a favourite story together.
Let’s not forget that children of all ages should also be encouraged to take part in a wide range of sporting activities throughout the summer. There is no better place to join in these than the Algarve – from swimming, stand-up paddleboarding, horse riding, learning to sail, to daily walks as a family. Take the time to keep healthy during the traditionally lazy summer months!
Summer is a time for family bonding, making new memories, taking part in summer school programmes, become a tourist and explore new countries, learn new skills and take on new challenges as a family.
What is important is that whatever you and your family are able to do together, it is varied, full of fun and you undertake a range of activities.
Let us remember the age-old adage that there are only 18 summers in a childhood, so enjoy each and every one!
By Penelope Best, Head of School,
Eupheus International School, Loulé