Seven ways to study in the summer holidays? I am a great advocate for school holidays and especially summer holidays. They are there to re-charge, rest and recuperate students and teachers from the previous term, so that you return to school feeling refreshed and ready to learn. However, they are also there to have fun. In the UK we have some of the shortest summer holidays in the western world. Independent schools have a few weeks longer, but generally six weeks is the norm while most other countries enjoy at least two months.

Summer holidays are also a chance to have a break from formal lessons and education. This year has been a particularly tough year and students need a rest and a break. However, many students (along with their parents) also feel that it is a good time to do some study as well. Normal routines have disappeared, you’ve got time on your hands and after a year of lockdown and repeated isolations you might feel there is some catching up to be done. 

I recently read a New York Times article about allowing your children to be bored. Boredom has negative associations and parents can feel they have failed if their children are bored. However, boredom can also provide a space to let in imagination and creativity, which can be squashed in packed schedules of activities and commitments.

Studying doesn’t have to be formal and these are my seven ways to study in the summer holidays where you can study and even catch up, which don’t involve sitting at a desk and working formally and can even be fun!

Seven ways to study in the summer holidays:

  1. Podcasts and Youtube Last summer my family spent a long car journey listening to a podcast about the science of sleep. It was the idea of one of my sons and since then it has changed how we all view sleep, sparked many a discussion, been the subject of one of my son’s English GCSE speaking assessment and inspired another son to study sleep further for a MOOC. It also helped to make a long journey much more pleasurable and interesting.
  2. Reading and writing Re-engage a love for reading and writing away from the classroom. It could be a book that you have studied in English or about a topic that you are studying in History or Science, but it doesn’t have to be. Reading, any reading, and getting lost in a good book will benefit your study at school. Writing a blog, an article, a poem, music or even a postcard is practising a skill that you use everyday at school.
  3. Visits A visit doesn’t have to be to a castle, a gallery or a museum for it to be educational, but all of these can be fun and interesting. A walk along a coastal path, rock-pooling at the beach, ordering a meal in French all have links to the curriculum but are also fun activities to do on holiday.
  4. Puzzles, quizzes and games There is always one day (at least) on every holiday where it pours down and the puzzles, jigsaws and board games come out. A game of Monopoly, Qwirkle or Scrabble can sharpen up your numeracy or literacy skills as well as help pass hours of fun.
  5. Online courses like MOOCs Holidays give you time to pursue other interests and MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses provide a multitude of different topics and subjects for you to study and research as well as give you a qualification that you can include in your CV or UCAS application.
  6. Talking Holidays are a perfect opportunity to talk to friends, family and people you meet along the way. Talking is also a powerful tool for deepening learning, asking questions and exploring ideas.
  7. Hobbies and interests Whether it’s stamp collecting, dressmaking, singing or drawing, you can find time in school holidays to pursue your hobbies and interests. With a little boredom, you might find new ones. One of the good outcomes of lockdown was that many people discovered talents they never knew they had.

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