Marc Lapointe, founder of an education consulting firm, former teacher, and parent has written a book called: "Standing in the Education Gap: A Commonsense Approach to Helping Your Child Succeed in School" because he wants to lend fellow parents a hand when it comes to enhancing the quality of their children's education. According to Mr. Lapointe:
"In reality, particularly in elementary schools, the Christmas season means that there is often a "slowdown" in academic activity. Teachers are often mentally tired, students are excited and restless as Christmas get closer and closer, and there are a number of holiday-related activities that take attention away from regular school-work. In addition, since many kids receive report cards around this time teachers are hesitant to move forward with any new lessons because the holiday break is just around the corner.
When you add on a two week break from school altogether, almost a month can pass by since a child has been engaged in her academics. When she returns to school in January she will be expected to be able to immediately reengage. As you can imagine, this is much easier said than done. Parents can make this transition much easier if they ensure that there kids don't take a complete break from their academics."
You can read a free chapter of the book at Acumen Education.ca
Since many kids will (or already have) receive their report cards the Christmas break can be used as a "reboot" for families. In other words, it isn't too late for a struggling student to experience real improvement in his/her grades. However, this "reboot" involves more than just good intentions and determination.
While the holidays should be a time to relax it doesn't mean that students should break completely from their studies. Parents should maintain a daily routine that involves having their child doing something that is related to their academics. This does NOT mean a student should be engaged in hours of review or homework each day. Thirty minutes each day is often enough.
Report cards can often be very vague. Before a child breaks for the holidays parents should schedule a meeting with the teacher, write down the specific questions they have, and get some tangible guidance from the teacher. More specifically, ask what can be done over the holiday break.
Take time to sit with your child to do a "term in review". In other words, take an honest and careful look back at the term and discuss concerns and collaborate on solutions. Sometimes it helps to make a child a part of this process and have her "buy-in" to the idea that some of the holiday time will be devoted to academic review. It's important to mention that, even if a child doesn't show much enthusiasm or expresses complete "buy-in", it shouldn't change the fact that a daily academic routine will be initiated.
If parents haven't done so already -- teach study and organization skills. If they have -- reinforce them. Many kids start off the school year with the best of intentions and then, by the time October or November come around, they fall back into poor work habits. Schools rarely, if ever, teach practical study and organization skills and keep kids accountable so parents should always be vigilant. The holiday break can be a great opportunity to teach these essential skills since, typically, families are together and parents can devote more time to working with their children.
Marc Lapointe is the founder of Acumen Education, an education consulting firm that provides consulting, planning, and tutoring services for families with children in the elementary grades. He was a classroom teacher with experience teaching in elementary school, middle school, and high school, teaching math, science, and English. He has a graduate degree in education and has experience teaching in schools in New York State, Ontario, and British Columbia.
Standing in the Education Gap: A Commonsense Approach to Helping Your Child Succeed in School can be purchased from www.amazon.com and through all major booksellers
Hardcover: 258 pages
August 26, 2013
Price From 9 - $27 depending on style