Sunday, 15 July 2012


How to Continue with School Time During Vacation?

8.7.2012 - School Time on the first night of the vacation

It is difficult to continue with Montessori activities while we were on the move on vacation, but I wanted very much for our School Time to continue. I brought along one of Joshua's Chinese workbooks. But I wasn't too hopeful that I will manage to do School Time with Joshua, since we didn't have any experience doing it during a vacation. I wasn't sure if Joshua would be keen, and I wasn't sure if I could find time to fit it into our schedule. But I guess at the back of my mind, I was very determined and Joshua was very cooperative. He has gotten used to School Time in his normal routine at home and he could ease into the same routine in the evening, so long as I was disciplined enough to do it with him.

We managed to do with School Time each evening before Joshua went to bed. This was our first real vacation with Joshua in the sense that he is now very aware of the things around him, like a big boy. I wanted it to mark the start of a tradition, and I was very glad that it took off from the first night. Joshua asked for School Time subsequently on the other nights. I hope this tradition will continue on for all our future vacations.

Why Is It Important to Do School Time while on Vacation?

Why do I think that it is important to do School Time even while on vacation? The world does not stop for us just because we are on vacation. And I also think it is making good use of time to also do some work, and not spend ALL the days for the full week on leisure. That would be a total waste of precious time. Just like we need consistent physical exercise, we also need mental exercise and continual learning too, even while we are on vacation.

In addition, according to, "Much research has been done regarding "summer learning loss". Studies have shown that "nearly all children lose about three months of math computation skills over the summer." (Cooper,1996) Reading skills can also be affected, as well as listening skills and following directions. However, the same research has also shown that doing at least twenty minutes of brain engaging work every day can minimize that learning loss. This optional one hour and twenty minute Superkids session three times a week can help your child from suffering the "summer slump"."

You may say getting to know a new place, gettting new experiences, etc. in themselves are a form of learning. True, but that is just one part of it, and the academic practice part is missing. This is where School Time fills the gap. And why not, since it is fun and good as nutrient for the brain, and most importantly Joshua enjoys it.

During our vacation in Interlaken, Joshua went to his English Sunday School classes during the first half of the day, while Mommy and Daddy attended classes on Child and Brain Development. We had the afternoons and evenings free. We extended our vacation for two days after our classes, where we visited Adelboden and Bern. We hiked in the mountains for four hours, saw a waterfall close-up, and thereafter relaxed in a out-door spa pool over-looking the mountains. We went swimming and sight-seeing in the old town of Bern and saw the bears with Joshua. It is thus possible to mix leisure and school time during vacation. You just have to find the right balance that works for your family.

How to Do School Time Without Pressure During Vacation?

Here are some tips based on my experience:

1. Set Expectations Low, but Hope High

This sounds like a oxymoron. What do I mean by setting expectations low, but hope high? I didn't have any expectations that School Time would take off during vacation. I brought along only one workbook, so that I would not be disappointed, if School Time does not take off.

Before the start of the vacation, my only aim was to try School Time just once. Anything more would be a bonus. But my hope and determination was high - which allows me to follow through with my plans. But I would not be too disappointed, if my plans did not realize, as I have set my expectations low.

2. Create a Cozy Atmosphere

Make sure that it is cosy. We sat on the bed. I put my arms around Joshua (but we have the workbook with us of course). It does not feel labourious like in school at all, but simply having a cozy time with mommy.

3. Go with the Flow

Go with the flow of your child. Try out for the first time, and if your child does not feel like it, don't force him. For Joshua, after we did School Time for the first time, he asked for more, so I went with the flow. What happens if Joshua did not ask for more, what would I do? I would stop and try out other activities that would still be beneficial for learning. Every child is different. I would also stop and try again in the next vacation. Try also another time of the day. I tried it once, when we were on vacation to Jutland. But it didn't take off. Joshua did not want to do School Time. I realized that the timing wasn't good for Joshua. I tried to do School Time during that trip in the morning, but Joshua was too excited to start the day with sight-seeing, rather than doing School Time. During this trip to Switzerland, I changed strategy and tried to do School Time in the evenings that that worked.

Here are some of the pictures we have taken during some of the School Time while on vacation:
9.7.2012 - School Time on the second night of the vacation

10.7.2012 - Reading books together

10.7.2012 - Mini School Time before bedtime

12.7.2012 - School Time at Cambrian Hotel Switzerland

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