Everyone knows that students tend to let their minds go limp during Winter Break. As a matter of fact, so do their teachers. Public and Home-schooled educators alike who want to keep their mental gears lubricated over Winter Break, or any break, can follow this list of ideas to avoid rusting and stagnation.
Annotate Classic Literature. More than passively reading and coming away with a good story, annotating requires actively reading and engaging with the material. It is studying what the characters do as if the characters were real; why do they act this way? What would be better? What can be learned about human nature and society through this story? These and other questions stretch and exercise the mind.
Work on a Research Project. Everybody has interests and hobbies. These can be utilized into a learning process for no other reason than personal enjoyment. Whatever your interest is, learn more about it. Everything has a history, additional techniques to learn and people to talk with. Like the medieval ages? Diagram and build a replica of a castle or a cathedral. Interested in art? Look at different artists or study up on personal favorites.
Go to a Museum. Without having to worry about students, chaperons, and elaborate scheduling, these kinds of places offer a lot of enjoyment. As much or as little time as desired can be spent looking at what is of personal interest. While most young students like to stay with the dinosaurs or the airplanes, maybe a stop over at the Japanese historical exhibit is of more interest.
Go on a daylong hike. A healthy mind works best when combined with a healthy body. Getting outside for a long time, whether in solitude or small company, can help clear the mind of surface clutter and worries. Plus, simply being in a new or uncommon environment can help jumpstart the thinking process. This may or may not have anything to do with school but not all ideas need to be school-related anyway.
Be Creative. Some people write, some people draw, and some people are musicians. Any and all creative areas hold opportunity for mental activity. Creativity can be work, and making something engages the brain. The practice of a familiar art form or experimenting with a new one help grow new thoughts and ways of thinking.
Plan Your Next Getaway. Travel requires logistics and logistics requires organization, information and planning. Start making plans now for where to travel next and what is required to make it happen. Figuring out where to get the money (cut back on espresso?), when to travel (avoid the stampede), and other important matters takes a lot of mental effort. Once that’s done, organizing the list of what assignment to grade first will seem like nothing, and when the students are busy you can daydream about your own upcoming adventure.