Navigating 2020 has been a wild ride for everyone, especially students. Now, in a few short days, we are looking at a well-earned break from school. Before you know it, 2021 will be here and so will the spring semester of school. So, let’s look at a few ways to avoid WASTING your Christmas vacation:
Take. A. Break.
This has been a rough year for everyone. No one has been exempt from the frustration, loneliness, sickness, and disruption 2020 has brought to our lives. Take this opportunity to REST. The new year won’t magically change things, but it will provide the opportunity to both reflect on 2020 and reset for 2021. Whatever truly brings you peace, rest, and enjoyment: do that.
It really doesn’t matter what you read, as long as you read. The ACT® reading section can really only be prepared for by practice…read, read, read. Give Barnes and Noble gift cards as stocking stuffers, get an Amazon Kindle, or a subscription to “Book of the Month” (bookofthemonth.com) to encourage their reading. All students need to read the classics. If you are disappointed in your school’s reading choices, we highly recommend “A Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde and “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens. Need more suggestions? Call us anytime, we love reading and recommending great books.
Redeem the Road Trip
Find or create a quasi-educational trivia game for road trips. Geographical or historical content that everyone would have a chance guessing are best. Some ideas:
- Name the Seven Modern Wonders of the World.
- Name the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World.
- What is the most-visited National Park in America?
- What well-known Christmas carol was the first song to be broadcast from space in 1965?
- Who was the first U.S. President to be impeached?
- What was America’s first cash crop?
- Who was America’s only double-President (two non-consecutive terms)?
Spend Time with Family and Friends
2020 has been full of isolation. Stay at home orders, cancelled events, quarantine, etc. As much as you can safely enjoy the company of your family and friends, do so. Spend time together, eat together, laugh together; it will be good for your soul.
Find ways to give back. If you feel like giving back to your community, this is a great time to volunteer time at a local soup kitchen or shelter. You could also partner with your local church’s youth group to find creative ways to serve. Or, serve at home by serving your family. Surprise them with acts of service!
This isn’t any fun, but look at the ACT®, AP, SAT®, and SAT® Subject test dates in spring and plan accordingly. No one likes test prep. Just put it on your calendar and back date to when you will need test prep help. We’ll be there when you need us; but enjoy Christmas now. No one should have their holidays ruined by testing.
Apply to College
Seniors: If you haven’t applied yet, you need to get on it. Applications are due in January and February. Yes, college is still a thing and you should still go, so get on it already.
Teens need to be able to write, and they do not have enough practice in school to be the types of writers universities and future employers expect them to be. Parents: Put them on Penzu, an online journal, where they can password protect their writings, so you never see it. Teens need to be able to write what they are feeling without worrying about prying eyes of parents and teachers. Give them a subscription and make them promise to never tell you their password. This is a safe space, unlike social media, to say whatever they want and however they want. It is also a great place to start chronicling their lives for that imminent college essay they will soon be writing.
Enjoy Literature in Film
Enjoy literary classics during family movie night. Currently streaming on Netflix is Rebecca (PG13), an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s beautiful, mysterious, romantic novel. We never learn the name of our heroine, so overshadowed is she by her husband’s first, and deceased, wife Rebecca. Mystery, murder, intrigue, and drama ensues, and readers (watchers) will immediately be sucked in. Heroine is portrayed by Lily James of Downton Abbey and Cinderella Also on Netflix is The King, based on Shakespeare’s Henry V, which is loosely based on history. The King (R) follows the life of a young Prince Hal from his days of drinking and gambling to becoming King at a young age in a time of war. An entertaining way to see Shakespeare without the iambic pentameter; as an added bonus Robert Pattinson (of Twilight fame) is the French King. Amazon Prime has War and Peace (probably R rated, but this is literature) also with Lily James. Tolstoy is a personal favorite (he’s very scandalous so teens will love it), though War and Peace gets a bad rap as a long, difficult book. This miniseries makes it easy to take in. Watch it, then read it. It is absolutely wonderful. (See disclaimer about this being scandalous. We mean it, but, literature).
Write A Thank You Note
If you feel like there hasn’t been anything to be grateful for this year, think again. Gratitude must be cultivated. Writing a thank you note to someone who helped you make it through this year is a great way to remind your soul that life is wonderful- despite the tough times. Think of a friend, parent, sibling, teacher- whomever! Someone who helped make this year more bearable. Then, write them a note. Tell them what they’ve meant to you. It might be the gift they remember most from this year!
Savor this holiday season with your family. You only have so many Christmas breaks left. Let this be a fun, relaxing end to the year that has wreaked so much havoc on all our lives. When you need help with school, we will be there. We exist to take the homework fight out of the home, and homework has no place during the holidays. Lifelong learning? Always.
Merry Christmas from our family to yours, and may God bless you all in 2021.