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Practice During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us, which means that school breaks are also coming up. You may be looking for ways to help your child keep up his skills during the vacation period. You may also be seeking out ways to keep the children in your household constructively occupied between festivities. Below are some ideas for practicing academic skills during the Thanksgiving and winter breaks.

Math: If your child is not yet fluent in basic facts, breaks are a perfect time for practice. Quizlet is a great website for flashcard-based studying as well as practice games. I have made a number of flashcard sets to help students study addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. View them here:

There are a number of websites where children can practice their basic arithmetic through games. Arcademic Skill Builders is one that provides dozens of free activities organized by grade and topic. Reflex Math also provides engaging math practice games. It does, however, require a subscription after a one-month free trial.

If your child needs practice with math concepts, give Khan Academy a try. After one or two supervised sessions, most students can work independently with the program to complete practice problems. When users are stuck, Khan Academy helpfully offers written explanations and video tutorials.

Writing: Practicing writing frequently is an important part of building fluency of verbal expression. Even without engaging in re-writing, editing, and feedback, students get value out of regularly putting pencil to paper. Have your child try keeping a holiday journal. Better still, make it a family activity. If journal writing does not engage your child, writing letters might be motivating. They could be thank-you notes, letters to Santa, correspondence with family members, or notes to public figures.

Reading: Regular silent reading is all that's needed to help children maintain their literacy progress. Stock the house with any reading material that is interesting and age-appropriate. Reading together can be motivating for kids of all ages. As well, keeping a diversity of reading materials available - books, ebooks, magazines, and newspapers - can help to keep up children's interest.


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