Whether the Easter holidays are already a chocolate-filled memory or your child is returning to school this week, the annual April break is fast-becoming the ultimate time for families with children facing exams in the summer term to take a Get Ahead Get Away.
These days B is rarely for break as an increasing numbers of parents help their children turn the pause in lessons to their advantage. The holiday period won't slow progress, quite the opposite: with the right help and support, it’s make not break. For many parents, reports of pupils improving grades in the space of two weeks can be as tempting as an organic choccy egg.
The idea of crammer colleges, private tutors or even just the good old-fashioned heads-down-no-talking Easter holiday revision is nothing new. But there are now a number of much more creative ways to tackle the holiday text book timetable.
The Revision Spa
One friend spent weeks trawling the web for the perfect holiday cottage in Cornwall. Near the beach? Tick. Nice and quiet? Tick. It turned out the tucked-away property was not for a family holiday but the location for a long-planned Revision Spa for her daughter facing A levels this summer. A week of intensive studying was peppered with long walks on the beach and fireside marshmallows. It was just the two of them: no domestic or sibling distractions. The mother took a week off work (unpaid) and swallowed the high cost of school holiday rental price tag but declares it was all worth to watch her daughter rise to a new level of confidence. “It was a bit like a romantic writer’s retreat,” she said on her return. “It was certainly a labour of love and demanded a lot of patience on my part. Teenage mood swings don’t go away when you leave the city behind but it was a very positive and hugely productive experience and I will absolutely do it with my son before his GCSEs next year.”
Sun, sea and GCSE
Leading London tutoring agency Kings Tutors takes the idea of the Get Ahead Get Away a little further. Literally. They have joined forces with luxury holiday company Peligoni Club who identified a gap in the market to “accommodate families during this crucial time in the academic calendar.” Cue group classes and one-to-one tuition at their holiday club on the sun-drenched Greek island of Zakynthos. Mornings are spent studying with highly qualified tutors so afternoons can be spent sailing or sitting by the pool. Everyone gets to make the most of their holiday and parents get piece of mind. “We turn what can be a dreaded time for families facing exams into something motivating and fun,” says Kings. No wonder their study slots with specialist tutors for May half term are already filling up quicker than you can say, "Pass the Factor 50."
Parlez vous staycation? Language help without leaving home
New free website GoCambio means you don’t even have to leave home to help your child build their skills. Like Airbnb but with a focus on language exchange, you can stay free at a GoCambio host's home (if you want to invest in a plane ticket) or simply open your doors to a GoCambio guest in return for them sharing their language with you and your family. It’s perfect for hosts with children facing all-important oral language tests. Having a native speaker in your home has to be several hundred air miles better than following an online revision programme.
If none of the above suit your personal circumstances, then a simple reward system, what some might call bribery, still works for many families. My daughter is currently trading studying for much-coveted screen time. It's an approach that's based on a simple work hard, play hard equation. Oh, and fear not if feel you missed the opportunity to maximise the Easter hols. It's only five weeks until Half Term!