Holiday homework: do not ask them too much!

barely With the examinations completed, the class council decisions taken and the report cards received, the parents are already wondering about the summer reviews. Are they really useful? Should we buy a holiday book at all costs? Here are some ways to balance things between hobbies and work.

Fabienne Broucaret

Forcing your child to work is counterproductive

60% of children do their holiday homework with their parents. The problem: 91% of them do it less than once a week. Hence forced labor sessions that often turn into nightmares (1). It is useless to revise children against their will. It makes them more against school, but also against their parents. Working during the summer is often experienced as frustration or punishment. And no one wins at this game.

"Revisions during the summer are not really good for children when parents force their hand," says psychologist and psychotherapist Bruno Dal Palu, "these moments can even become traumatic if parents lose patience and talk deprecatingly. This will have anxiogenic effects on the child who will be as uncomfortable at school as at home. " The role of vacation homework is to keep neurons energized. They must never become synonymous with stress.

As reassuring as they are for parents, summer reviews are not the quick fix for school failure. "These extra duties alone can not compensate for a student's delay , believes Fabienne Ramond, teacher and teacher, author of Understanding and helping children in difficulty (Dunod) Parents often hope to take advantage of the summer to fill the gaps in their child. can quickly be a source of conflict if they try to substitute themselves for teachers.We must really maintain a spirit of relaxation or appeal to a third party not to disgust children. "

(1) Survey conducted by Sofres for Hachette editions.

Holidays: a time of rest and awakening needed

"I try to tell parents that letting children breathe does not mean resigning," says Constance, a French teacher in a Parisian high school. can learn with family in fun forms during the summer. " It remains to imagine holidays during which children would be encouraged otherwise to activate their senses. There are various ways to boost their intellect without seeming to it: keep a diary in which the highlights of the holidays would be recorded, send your teenager to immersion abroad, introduce his little one to cultural activities, incite the eldest to play sports ... "This will bring them new skills as important as the school concepts, insists Fabienne Ramond.Changing environments will help them to mature, even a few dozen kilometers from home. Extracurricular activities are also useful for self-esteem, general culture or the work of memory. "

Another idea to recharge the batteries in a serene atmosphere: offer them books" for pleasure ", and especially not because they are on the program. " Do not necessarily aim classics, advises Florence Pagneux, author of the Guide for entry to high school (Bayard). It does not matter if it's a crime novel or a novel for teens, the main thing is to give them a taste for reading. Summer is a pleasant and peaceful time to introduce them to the practice of reading. For languages, many teachers advise watching TV shows or DVDs in VO. It is a way of working on listening comprehension while relaxing. "

Holidays must finally remain synonymous with rest, a well-deserved rest and, above all, a necessary time in the child's learning process. " It should not be constantly put under pressure, it is counterproductive, insists Bruno Dal Palu. After a learning phase, the child needs a rest phase to assimilate the notions seen in class. The holidays are a period of stabilization which allows in the long term to verify the acquired ones. Without this rest, the pupil will only respond by reflex and habit. "

Are the holiday booklets effective?

" The exercise books, if they do not sleep in the bag like a bad conscience, are usually a valuable help, says pediatrician Edwige Antier, author of I help my child to focus (Robert Laffont). They allow parents to realize what their child needs to know at his or her age. "

However, the effectiveness of holiday books varies greatly depending on how they are used. 'Iredu, 4, 4% of parents report that their child did not use it, 72, 2% that he used it partially and only 23, 4% that he completely completed it (1). Result of the races: the child who partially used a book of holidays does not progress more than a student who has not worked, except in mathematics.The one who has completed his notebook improves his knowledge in all disciplines, with a very pronounced effect in mathematics

However, students in advance, those of good academic level, and children of executives have a higher probability of completing their notebook than others, and this probability also increases according to the intervention of students. parents through a work schedule and corrections. " Good students are very demanding, explains Fabienne Ramond. For them, holiday books are a hobby. They can fill them independently without any problem. For students a little more fragile, the intervention of a third party is necessary.It is no longer a simple occupation, but a real support. "For otherwise the holiday duties will keep the student who does not succeed during the year in his failure and increase his stress, stress that will be reflected at the beginning of the school year

(1) Study on school activities during the summer published in the "Cahier N ° 63 of the Iredu" and carried out by researchers Jean-Pierre Jarousse and Christine Leroy-Audouin.

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