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How to handle winter holiday homework

Caroline Duda is a Senior Marketing Coordinator for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized experiences to accelerate academic achievement.

Don't let your kid's homework be a downer on winter break

In mid- to late-December, it finally and gloriously arrives—winter vacation! But your child may not leave school with an empty backpack. Instead, she may return with one or more homework assignments that must be completed by the first week or two of January.

Winter holiday homework is assigned to students of all ages, from kindergarten to 12th grade. While it is intended to be a small portion of your child’s short reprieve from school, it is still an important one. Homework during vacations can help prevent learning loss, and it can help your student further hone critical academic skills.

As the New Year approaches, assisting your child with her winter holiday homework need not be difficult. Here are three strategies to help you handle this aspect of vacation:

1. Review each individual assignment or the homework packet

Before your student begins her winter holiday homework, carefully review each assignment that she has been given. Her homework may mirror her typical mixture of assignments during the school year (for instance, a one-page paper in AP English Literature and Composition, as well as a specific page range to read), or it may be different (a crossword puzzle that utilizes holiday terms like “snowflake,” for example). If your child is in elementary or middle school, her teacher may send a packet home that outlines expectations and the included assignments. But why is this step important? To start, understanding precisely what is expected of your student during this time period can help you better utilize the strategies that follow below.

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2. Set a consistent schedule

Understandably, consistency can be difficult to achieve during the holiday season. You may be traveling to a different city, state, or country; you may be hosting relatives or friends in your own home; or you may be attending multiple holiday parties and festive dinners. With such a hectic and varied schedule, you might be tempted to delay winter break homework until a calmer time—only to realize that this calmer time is just one or two days before the conclusion of vacation. To avoid the panic that naturally results from this situation, set a consistent schedule that suits you and your family. For instance, will your high school student complete one hour of homework every third day? Or will you look at assignments with your kindergarten student for 10 minutes each morning?

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3. Divide assignments into smaller portions

If your high school-age child has been tasked with reading three chapters of her AP United States History textbook by early January, consider working with her to segment this assignment into smaller, more manageable portions. For example, if she plans to complete one hour of homework every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, perhaps she can read one chapter on each of these days. This technique also works well for projects. If your elementary school student must investigate your family’s holiday traditions, consider helping her conduct research on one day and assisting with creating a poster board with her findings on another day. Not only does this strategy minimize boredom and burnout, it can also afford you the flexibility you might need during this busy holiday season.

More: 4 tips for establishing great homework habits this school year

For more tips and strategies to help your student succeed in school, visit varsitytutors.com.

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