I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” It sounds quaint–but it’s true! Staying focused for long periods of time is difficult, no matter how old you are. The human brain needs breaks to stay sharp. Let’s take a look at the benefits of study breaks and how they can make your child MORE focused as they work through Saxon math by discussing:
Wake up! You still with me? Yep, we all lose focus as we spend longer on a certain subject. It’s just how our brains are wired and it happens to all of us. Let’s face it, learning is hard, and kids especially are doing so much of it as they grow. We live in a society that thinks more is more, but it’s just now true when it comes to study time. Study breaks respect the fact our brains really do get tired and overwhelmed!
Plus, our bodies need to move. Have you heard the phrase “Sitting is the new smoking?” It’s just not healthy to sit and sit and sit. Letting your child stand up and wiggle during the Corny Brain Break section of their lesson is a great way to see a smile, move a bit, and allow your child’s brain just enough time to re-set.
You’d think that more breaks would mean less learning. But it’s just not true. Studies have shown that small breaks actually increase attention during work periods! And the benefits of study breaks don’t stop there! Learning is stressful on a child’s brain, but breaks decrease that stress by keeping it from compounding over time. They also boost brain function during the learning parts of the day.
Plus, breaks can even improve social skills–what? Yes, even in a homeschool situation where there may not be many other kids around, a Corny Brain Break can improve those skills through humor.
So, how do you know when a child needs a study break. There are a few obvious times when a break just makes sense. Is he or she done with a section? Time to take a break! This is why my Corny Brain Breaks are where they are–they just make sense after you’ve done a certain amount of work with Saxon Math before you move on to more.
You can also judge when to take a break by the clock. For young children–20 minutes of work can often merit a break. Older kids can go a little longer, but watch their behavior because…
If your child is restless and can’t focus, that’s an obvious sign that a break is in order! They may not be trying to get out of work–their bodies AND brains are sending them–and you–signals that they are DONE for the moment. A break can be just the reset they need.
Keep it short. A five to 10-minute break is just the right amount of time to allow the brain a moment to rest but not completely forget what they need to be doing.
Lighten the mood. This is why I love Corny Brain Breaks! Saxon math is a rigorous curriculum, so a good chuckle at a corny joke can be just the thing to remind a student that fun matters, too!
MOVE! Yes, move. Always. Even if it’s a quick stretch, 10 jumping jacks, or a jaunt around the room, getting up and moving will always help a young, active body cooperate with the sitting that comes with learning.
It may go without saying, but a study break is no time for social media. We all know that a 5 minute break can turn into 50 minutes before we realize what’s happening. It’s also a HUGE influx of new information–just the thing we don’t want during a time that’s supposed to give our kids’ brains a break from taking on new info!
No TV. Again, it’s just to hard to turn off something that’s designed to keep a kid glued to the screen.
Don’t start on a new topic of thought. A study break just isn’t the time to bring up the essay they are writing or the Spanish test they need to do. A break should be just that–a time to let their mind reset by NOT thinking about school!
That all-working, no-playing Jack really is dull-and that doesn’t just mean he isn’t interesting to talk to! He literally can’t learn as well as the kid who’s regularly giving his or her brain a break and refreshing themselves to take on more.
So enjoy the Corny Brain Breaks, add a quick walk into your learning time, whatever–just know that those little rests through the day add up to a whole lot of learning! And be sure to share your favorite ways to take a break in the comments!
Talk to you soon,
Nicole the Math Lady
P.S. You can check out how I incorporate fun breaks into Saxon math with my Corny Brain Breaks by taking advantage of my FREE 7-Day Trial here! No credit card required, just a full week to give you time to check out my Saxon video lessons, online grading, and other resources to bring joy back to math!