The third term is over -- parents, learners and teachers are looking forward to some much-needed time-out! Alarm clocks, packed lunches, homework, and school-day routines are put aside for a few days, or so they should be!
Unfortunately, for so many parents and learners, the third term brings with it the less-anticipated school report and in so many cases, ensuing panic! After all, there is only one term left of the year and many parents feel that the October holiday should be used to focus on school work.
Whether your child is in Grade 1 or Grade 12, whether your child is struggling or an achiever -- I highly recommend that schoolwork take a vacation with your family this October.
1. Our kids are under so much pressure
Let's look at the pressures of modern schooling: Learners are bombarded, non-stop, with tasks, assignments, homework, tests and exams. On top of this, they have sporting and other cultural activities which keep them busy -- often until late into the afternoons and even on weekends. Grade 12 learners have had the added pressure of trial exams. It is just go, go go with no time for rest!
2. Our kids are exhausted
It is so easy to fall into the 'need-to-do-more, need-to-work-harder' trap at this time of the year. It is a trap because the idea of adding more pressure, more stress and more work to learners who are already exhausted is completely counter-productive. In fact, in my experience, it could even lead to a disastrous fourth term!
3. Our kids are burnt out
Consider the symptoms of burn-out in children: unusual aggression, tearfulness, fatigue, anxiety, panic attacks, apathy, rebelliousness, depression, low self-esteem, recurring infections and illnesses, impaired concentration and anti-social behaviours. Our children are not Duracell bunnies whose batteries can be replaced whenever they run out of energy or burn out! A burnt-out child cannot learn effectively, and even less so, with added schoolwork.
Consider the rewards of a happy, relaxed and rested child. The brain can breathe. The mind has space to take in information more effectively.
4. Our kids need to rest and relax
As South Africans, we love to braai on warm summer evenings. We are experts at building the perfect fire. We all know that adding piles of charcoal or wood onto the fire without allowing it to breathe and grow would be counter-intuitive. The same can be said for our children. They need space to breathe, to relax and to engage in activities that make them happy, that are uplifting, fun and exciting!
Consider the rewards of a happy, relaxed and rested child. The brain can breathe. The mind has space to take in information more effectively. Learners will have more energy and experience an improved ability to concentrate and retain new information.
Taking a complete break these holidays can only have a positive effect on your child. Just imagine what a rested, relaxed and happier child can achieve in the fourth term!