Should children study in the summer holidays?

The BBC reports that the summer holidays are under way, but for some children, the studying – and the homework – will continue.

It was a moment of pure joy: school was out for summer. Your school bag was shoved in the back of a cupboard. School shoes went the same way. Ahead lay countless days of freedom, play and sunshine. That used to be the case for most children – yet not all youngsters today enjoy the same.

There’s school work to catch up on; a year’s learning to consolidate. An 11-plus test in the autumn term, perhaps.

So – some parents argue – why not study over the holidays?

Vivienne Stiles tutors children aged between four and 16 throughout the summer. They attend a class twice a week, and are given between 15 and 90 minutes of maths and English homework every day.

“Children’s brains need to be stimulated throughout the holidays,” she says. “You can’t expect them to pick up in September where they left off.” By doing work little and often, says Vivienne, children maintain the stamina and concentration built up during term-time.

Mother-of-two Tanith Carey was also a big believer in tutoring. That was until her eldest daughter, Lily, did not want to accept a school prize for science at the age of seven, saying she hated the fuss. It was then Tanith found out about the pressure her daughter was under.

So, the maths tutoring through the holidays stopped, and Lily had more time to spend making up little worlds and imaginary characters with her younger sister, Clio.

Father-of-three and author of the Idle Parent, Tom Hodgkinson, spent his summer holidays roaming freely round parks and over rubbish dumps.

“It’s about responsible neglect,” he says. “Leave children alone – you’re nearby but let them get on with it. Life is overscheduled so the summer holidays should be a time to live in the moment, have fun and be creative without an authority figure lurking in the background, he says.

“It teaches you self-sufficiency, the ability to entertain yourself and how to look after yourself. These skills may not be useful in corporate life or if you want to suck on the nipple of the state but they are if you want to be a responsible grown-up human being,” he argues.

Read more Should children study in the summer holidays?

Should children study or play? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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