By Sheila Waswa
Published December 5, 2016
School-going children in Kenya are out on one of the longest vacations in the history of the East African country. Parents and guardians are apprehensive over possible harm by such a long break to their children and wards. The children, too, are finding such a long holiday both monotonous and boring.
But such fears and attitude need not arise as school holidays have been known to be a game changer for young people who utilise them well to prepare for, if not fulfill, their lifelong dreams and goals.
Would you like to know how you, too, could turn your school break into an enjoyable, memorable and productive time regardless of where you are in the world?
Alright. Here we go.
- Learn a skill
Have you always wanted to learn a skill that you have put away for long because of pressing academic demands? Why not use this break to do it before you return to school?If you want to advance in writing for instance, this is the time to create a blog and post your articles on it or send them to magazines and newspapers. Who knows, they might just get published. And you would get paid, too!If your dream is to become an actor or a musician, you could join a theatre group or the music department of your church and equip yourself with skills in acting, singing, dancing or playing a music instrument.
- Learn a Sport
Avoid idleness by involving yourself in a sport you enjoy and would probably want to turn into your career. This could be track athletics, football or gymnastics.
Form or join a soccer team in your neighbourhood and make use of whichever spaceâ€”gyms, stadia, public play grounds–is permissible for use.
You could also jog take a walk to keep yourself fit and healthy.
- Learn Self Defence
Living in an unpredictable world with lurking dangers and rising insecurities, you need to learn how to defend yourself against unforeseen harm.
Learning martial arts like karate, judo and tae kwon do or even boxing and wrestling could go a long way in protecting you and your loved ones against harm from attackers, robbers or rapists.
- Learn First Aid
Being equipped with basic first aid skills can save not just your life but also that of others around you against incidents like food choking, drowning, fire outbreak, motor accident and heart attack. You may learn this from humanitarian assistance groups like St Johnâ€™s Ambulance, Red Cross and Red Crescent or community policing groups in your neighbourhood.
- Learn a language
Learn a new language that could enable you pursue careers in travel and tourism, diplomacy and cross-cultural communication.
Learning an â€˜internationalâ€™ language also increases your chances of living or getting education from a foreign country that speaks that language.
You could also learn sign language to communicate for and with the deaf or the dumb.
- Attend gatherings for young people
Boot camps, vocational Bible schools, church youth programmes, festivals and music may create an avenue for you to interact and exchange ideas as well as help you to develop skills and acquire socially admirable values.
- Undergo a Rite of Passage
To identify yourself as a member of a certain community, you will need to conform to the standards and expectations of that community.
Isaac Spencer, a 13-year old boy who just completed his primary education, for instance, says he shall get circumcised as he waits to join secondary school in a monthâ€™s time.
Circumcision, he says, will protect him against teasing him as being a â€˜childâ€™ and not an â€˜adultâ€™ from other boys once he joins secondary school.
- Visit relatives
A break from school offers a time to visit grandparents, uncles and aunts as well as those cousins you havenâ€™t seen for a while. This is an ideal opportunity to change the environment, a time to explore and learn cultures and to just enjoy your childhood before adulthood and its responsibilities weigh you down.
- Learn computer skills
Growing up in a digital era makes computer literacy a basic requirement or skill. You may have to register for part time courses in areas like basic computer programming, web development, graphic design, animation or even get certified for an International Computer Driving License (ICDL) that enables you to use computer software, applications and programmes competently and not by trial and error.
A school holiday is not a break from education which is a lifelong journey rather than a destination.
Go over your school notes, paying attention to the formulas or concepts that you find challenging to understand. Consult your parents, older siblings and, yes, schoolmates. Remind yourself whatever you learnt in the previous classes by revising your notes.
If you are sitting your final examinations in the coming year, be sure to revise all that you have ever learnt in preparation for the exam that will shape your future.
Ignoring the content of lower classes might be detrimental as surveys on final year primary pupils in Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa show that at least one out of 10 candidates cannot tackle simple class two arithmetic (addition and subtraction)or properly read a paragraph of class two level. Of course going over what you learnt in lower classes besides what you are learning now will save you from such a predicament.
Simple study time tables and group discussions may also help to foster exchange of ideas and ease learning; don’t overlook it.