Category Archives: Learning

Why Omega Learning Teachers Are Special

Omega Learning® Center recognizes how important teachers are. We appreciate all of our teachers, tutors, and staff here at Omega Learning® Center. Here are our top reasons why Omega Learning® Center’s teachers are so special.

Omega Learning® Center tutors believe in:

  • Providing opportunity for growth
  • Building student confidence
  • Achieving academic success
  • Encouraging critical-thinking skills
  • Communicating directly with schools
  • Utilizing a tutoring system

Omega tutors are teachers. Our tutors are qualified, motivated, and certified teachers who care about your student’s success.

Omega tutors are educated. Many Omega tutors have master’s degrees and special education degrees, and all must complete the Omega training/certification program.

Omega tutors produce results. Omega tutors achieve results using our AIM Tutoring System®. The average academic growth is 2.2 years after completing our program.

Omega tutors are local. Our tutors live and work in our community. They believe in the power of a strong education and its value for your student’s future.

Omega tutors are dynamic. Our tutors engage their students and our OutpAce® curriculum, including auditory, visual, and tactile instructional methods to achieve accelerated growth and lasting results.

Omega tutors are connected. Omega tutors send daily email updates to our students’ parents and schoolteachers to keep everyone informed on their Academic Team.

Omega Learning® Center is AdvancED accredited nationwide and provides tutoring and test preparation services for grades K-12. To find a learning center near you, visit OmegaLearning.com.

5 Tips to Make Math Fun

Is math homework the least-favorite part of your child’s afternoon? Do you both avoid sitting down to complete assigned math problems? Many children say they “hate” math and try to dodge or rush through it. Some kids who speed through their work actually have strong math skills, but they end up making silly mistakes.

Though you might also prefer sitting down to read a book with your child over tackling math homework, it’s helpful to create a good attitude about math — so that any negative feelings about the subject don’t linger over time.

Here are some tips to help make math more enjoyable for your child — and have him actually look forward to it!

1. Stay Positive: Get excited about math homework and keep a positive mindset (even if you have to pretend). Try to avoid making comments like “I’m not good at math” or “This is so easy.” Little ears hear everything!  Hearing a negative sentiment may influence your child’s own thinking, or make him feel inadequate or nervous about doing math.

2. Celebrate Mistakes: Mistakes are good. We simply can’t learn without them, especially in math. The more your child can learn to embrace her mistakes, the less scary math problems become. Encourage her to take risks in math and not be afraid to make mistakes. If she has an incorrect answer on her homework, don’t tell her which problem is wrong — instead, encourage her to find the incorrect problem and fix it.

3. Play Math Games: Find math games that are fun and exciting for your child. Set a goal to play four or five math games a week. Your child can even make up or change the rules however he wants. Teach him that math isn’t rigid. Cards and dice are terrific, flexible tools for playing math games. Carry them in your purse or in the car so you can play at any time. Here are math dice games for kids aged 3-7 and for kids aged 8-13.

4. Build Mental Math Skills: Many children are afraid of numbers and don’t want to play with them. The bigger the numbers, the more terrifying the problem. Build your child’s number sense by finding numbers in her everyday world. Help her to see how math is always going to be in her life. Encourage your child to solve problems in her head (mental math). Start easy by adding or subtracting 10 from a number. For example: 52+10 or 84-10. Build up to larger numbers: 462+100 or 923-100. The more your child sees numbers, the less frightening numbers will feel to her.

5. Create a Math Toolkit: Math can be very abstract, which is overwhelming for a young child. Creating a math toolkit at home can help relieve some of the pressure of not knowing where to begin or how to solve a problem. Giving your child tools will help him see math more concretely and therefore feel better about his learning. Encourage him to use his “tools” before asking for your help. Some great tools are a ruler, 100 hundred charts, number lines, graph paper, cards, and counters.

Omega Learning® Center is AdvancED accredited nationwide and provides tutoring and test preparation services for grades K-12. To find a learning center near you, visit OmegaLearning.com.

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-learning-toolkit/5-tips-to-help-your-kids-look-forward-to-math

What To Expect on ACT Test Day

Good sleep? Check. Good breakfast? Check. Review our Test Day Checklist and get ready to test.

LEAVING THE HOUSE

  • Dress comfortably. Some test centers are warmer or cooler on weekends than during the week. Consider dressing in layers, so you’ll be comfortable no matter what the room conditions are.
  • If you’re unsure where your test center is located, do a practice run to see how to get there and what time you’ll need to leave to arrive by 8:00 a.m.
  • If you arrive earlier than 7:45 a.m., you might have to wait outside until testing staff complete their arrangements.
  • Bring snacks or drinks to consume outside the test room only during the break.

ARRIVING AT THE TEST CENTER

  • Report to your assigned test center by the Reporting Time (usually 8:00 a.m.) listed on your ticket. You will NOT be admitted to test if you are late.
  • Testing staff will check your photo ID and ticket, admit you to your test room, direct you to a seat, and provide test materials.
  • Be ready to begin testing after all examinees present at 8:00 a.m. are checked in and seated.
  • Please note that ACT may visit test centers to conduct enhanced test security procedures including, but not limited to, collecting images of examinees during check-in or other security activities on test day.

DURING THE TEST

  • Once you break the seal on your test booklet, you cannot later request a Test Date Change, even if you do not complete all your tests.
  • A permitted calculator may be used on the mathematics test only. It is your responsibility to know whether your calculator is permitted.
  • If your calculator has characters one inch high or larger, or a raised display, testing staff may seat you where no others can see the display.
  • Do not engage in any prohibited behavior at the test center. If you do, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. For more details about prohibited behavior at the test center, please see Terms and Conditions (PDF).  Note: For National and International Testing, you will be asked to sign a statement on the front cover of your test booklet agreeing to this policy.
  • Also remember that cheating hurts everyone. If you see it, report it.

TAKING A BREAK

  • A short break is scheduled after the first two tests. You will not be allowed to use cell phones or any electronic devices during the break, and you may not eat or drink anything in the test room.
  • If you take the ACT with writing, you will have time before the writing test to relax and sharpen your pencils.

FINISHING UP

  • Students taking the ACT (no writing) with standard time are normally dismissed about 12:15 p.m.; students taking the ACT with writing are normally dismissed about 1:15 p.m.
  • On some test dates, ACT tries out questions to develop future versions of the tests. You may be asked to take a fifth test, the results of which will not be reflected in your reported scores. The fifth test could be multiple-choice or one for which you will create your own answers. Please try your best on these questions, because your participation can help shape the future of the ACT. If you are in a test room where the fifth test is administered, you will be dismissed at about 12:35 p.m.
  • If you do not complete all your tests for any reason, tell a member of the testing staff whether or not you want your answer document scored before you leave the test center. If you do not, all tests attempted will be scored.

*ACT is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc., which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this service.

Source: http://www.act.org/content/act/en/products-and-services/the-act/test-day.html

Getting College Credit Before College

You can improve your chances of graduating on time and may even save money on college costs if you earn college credits early. There are several ways to do this. These include testing out of college classes and taking college-level classes while in high school.

Taking college-level classes can help you graduate from college on time or early.

Ways to Get College Credit Early

Below are some options for earning credit before starting college.

Take AP Courses and Exams

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program (AP) offers college-level study in a wide range of subjects and allows you to earn college credit if you score high enough on AP Exams. AP courses stress deep learning, critical thinking and the application of knowledge.

Take CLEP Exams

The College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), accepted by over 2,900 colleges and universities, lets you earn college credit for the knowledge that you have already acquired. By passing any of the 33 CLEP exams, you can earn 3 to 12 credits toward your college degree and move to more advanced courses. The amount of credit you earn depends on the exam subject and the policy at the college you attend.

Participate in the IB Program

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers college-level courses that provide students with an in-depth, culturally diverse, global education. Certain colleges offer credit to students who earn high enough scores on IB exams or who complete the IB diploma program.

Take College Classes While in High School

Some high school students start their college studies while still in high school by taking day, evening or weekend classes at a local college. The rules for who can go and who pays the tuition are different in every state.

Benefits of College-Level Study in High School

Taking college-level classes in high school can introduce you to new academic passions and the excitement of exploring interesting subjects in depth. It can also help you:

  • Learn the time-management skills, study skills and discipline you’ll need in college.
  • Improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice.
  • Improve your chances of qualifying for scholarships.
  • Free up enough time in college for you to take part in programs like study abroad or to double major.
  • Graduate from college on time or early, which will save you money.

Your Next Move

Talk to your school counselor, principal or teachers to find out which options for earning college credit may work for you. And make sure that the colleges you want to attend will accept your credits.

Omega Learning® Center is AdvancED accredited nationwide and provides tutoring and test preparation services for grades K-12. To find a learning center near you, visit OmegaLearning.com.

Source: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/college-costs/getting-college-credit-before-college

20 Ways to Boost Your Baby’s Brain Power

At birth, your baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons (as many as there are stars in the Milky Way)! During their first years, they will grow trillions of brain-cell connections, called neural synapses.

The rule for brain wiring is “use it or lose it.” Synapses that are not “wired together” through stimulation are pruned and lost during a child’s school years. Although an infant’s brain does have some neurological hard wiring (such as the ability to learn any language), it is more pliable and more vulnerable than an adult’s brain. And, amazingly, a toddler’s brain has twice as many neural connections as an adult’s.

When you provide loving, language-enriched experiences for your baby, you are giving his brain’s neural connections and pathways more chances to become wired together. In turn, they will acquire rich language, reasoning, and planning skills.

  1. Give your baby a physically healthy start before he is born. Stay healthy while you are pregnant, and be aware that certain drugs can be destructive to your baby’s brain in utero. Many children who were drug-abused in the womb struggle with severe learning problems and suddenly act with unprovoked aggressive behaviors. Studies have also revealed that cigarette smoking during pregnancy causes lower fourth-grade reading scores.
  2. Have meaningful conversations. Respond to infant coos with delighted vocalizations. Slowly draw out your syllables in a high-pitched voice as you exclaim, “Pretty baby!” This talk is called “parentese.” The areas in the brain for understanding speech and producing language need your rich input.
  3. Play games that involve the hands (patty-cake, peekaboo, this little piggy). Babies respond well to learning simple sequential games.
  4. Be attentive. When your baby points, be sure to follow with your gaze and remark on items or events of interest to her. This “joint attention” confirms for your baby how important her interests and observations are to you.
  5. Foster an early passion for books. Choose books with large and colorful pictures, and share your baby’s delight in pointing and making noises — say, the animal sounds to go along with farm pictures. Modulate the tone of your voice; simplify or elaborate on story lines; encourage toddlers to talk about books. Remember that building your baby’s receptive language (understanding spoken words) is more important than developing his expressive language (speaking) in infancy.
  6. Use diaper time to build your baby’s emotional feelings of having a “lovable body.” Stroke your baby’s tummy and hair. Studies have shown that babies who are not often touched have brains that are smaller than normal for their age. Also, when diapering your baby, you are at the ideal 12 to 18 inches from her eyes to attract attention to your speech.
  7. Choose developmentally appropriate toys that allow babies to explore and interact. Toys such as a windup jack-in-the-box or stackable blocks help your baby learn cause-and-effect relationships and “if-then” reasoning. If a baby stacks a big block on a smaller one, the top block falls off. If he successfully stacks a small block on a bigger one, he “wires in” the information.
  8. Respond promptly when your baby cries. Soothe, nurture, cuddle, and reassure him so that you build positive brain circuitry in the limbic area of the brain, which relates to emotions. Your calm holding and cuddling, and your day-to-day intimate engagement with your baby, signal emotional security to the brain.
  9. Build trust by being attentive and focused. Babies who are securely attached to you emotionally will be able to invest more life energy in the pleasures of exploration, learning, and discovery.
  10. Use body massage to decrease your infant’s stress and enhance her feelings of well-being and emotional security. Loving touches promote growth in young babies. Research has shown that premature babies who are massaged three times daily are ready to leave the hospital days earlier than babies who do not receive massages.
  11. Enlist help from your toddler at clean-up times — a good way to practice categorization. Toddlers learn that stuffed animals have one place to go for “night-night” time; cars, trucks, and other vehicles also have their special storage place. Children need to learn about sorting into categories and seriation (placing things in order; for example, from littlest to biggest) as part of their cognitive advancement in preschool.
  12. Set up a safe environment for your crawling baby or toddler. Spatial learning is important, and your mobile child will begin to understand parameters such as under, over, near, and far. He will be able to establish mental maps of his environment and a comfortable relationship with the world in which he lives.
  13. Sing songs such as “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Ring-Around-the-Rosy.” The body motions and finger play will help your baby integrate sounds with large and small motor actions. Songs also enhance your child’s learning of rhythms, rhymes, and language patterns.
  14. Match your tempo to your child’s temperament. Some children adjust easily to strange situations, some are bold and impulsive, and some are quite shy. Go with the flow as you try to increase a shy child’s courage and comfort level. Help a highly active child safely use his wonderful energy while learning impulse control. Your acceptance will give him the comfort he needs to experiment and learn freely.
  15. Make meals and rest times positive. Say the names of foods out loud as your baby eats. Express pleasure as she learns to feed herself, no matter how messy the initial attempts may be. This will wire in good associations with mealtime and eating. Battles and nagging about food can lead to negative emotional brain patterns.
  16. Provide clear responses to your baby’s actions. A young, developing brain learns to make sense of the world if you respond to your child’s behavior in predictable, reassuring, and appropriate ways. Be consistent.
  17. Use positive discipline. Create clear consequences without frightening or causing shame to your child. If your toddler acts inappropriately, such as by hitting another child, get down to his eye level, use a low, serious tone of voice, and clearly restate the rule. Keep rules simple, consistent, and reasonable for your child’s age. Expecting a toddling baby not to touch a glass vase on a coffee table is not reasonable. Expecting a toddler to keep sand in the sandbox and not throw it is reasonable.
  18. Model empathic feelings for others. Use “teachable moments” when someone seems sad or upset to help your toddler learn about feelings, caring, sharing, and kindness. The more brain connections you create for empathic responses and gentle courtesies, the more these brain circuits will be wired in. This helps not only with language and cognitive learning, but with positive emotional skills, too!
  19. Arrange supervised play with messy materials, such as water, sand, and even mud. This will teach your toddler about the physics and properties of mixtures and textures, liquids and solids. During bath time, the brain wires in knowledge about water, slippery soap, and terry towel textures. Sensory experiences are grist for the learning brain.
  20. Express joy and interest in your baby. Let your body language, your shining eyes, your attentiveness to babbling and baby activities, and your gentle caresses and smiles validate the deeply lovable nature of your little one.

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/thinking-skills-learning-styles/20-ways-to-boost-your-babys-brain-power

Moving Ahead in Math and Science

When it comes to mathematics, middle schoolers continue to develop proficiency in computing with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages. They also delve more deeply into geometry, probability, and statistics, and start honing their algebraic reasoning skills. Data analysis is a major focus, with students recording and analyzing information in tables, charts, and graphs.

The idea is to help students identify patterns of change and linear and non-linear relationships — a crucial component of algebra and other advanced forms of math and science. Other things that middle-school students will work on:

A Push Toward Algebra

A movement to make math more rigorous in the middle-school years has resulted in an increased emphasis on algebra, and a push to integrate it with geometry and other topics in the curriculum. The reason: as a “gatekeeper” to more advanced studies, algebra provides children with a clear advantage. Consequently, many schools push pre-algebra and algebraic reasoning at an earlier age. In 6th grade, for instance, children will solve word problems using graphs, tables, and equations. They will also work to solve simple equations containing a variable, such as 27 = 4x + 3. Eventually, students will become more adept at translating word and geometric problems into equations, and solving them.

 

Physical, Life, and Earth Sciences

Middle-school students delve into more sophisticated hands-on science activities and experiments, and material that continues to deepen their understanding of these three disciplines. Concepts, skills, and terminology become more advanced, laying the groundwork for high school biology, chemistry, and physics.For example, students might examine the structure of cells, atoms, and molecules, study the periodic table and various chemical reactions, learn about the tectonic plates, and examine the hows and whys of earthquakes and volcanoes. Students will be expected to do more research, using outside sources such as reference books, magazine articles, and the Internet. And they’ll be asked to share their work in written, oral, or multimedia presentations.

 

More and More Math

Math will play a larger part in science during the middle-school years, as students measure, weigh, calculate, and record data in graphs, charts, and diagrams.They learn to become more systematic in how they control variables, make observations, collect evidence, and record data. Middle-school students may get additional opportunities to plan, conduct, and showcase their own experiments at science fairs. Fairs, which can be classroom-based, school-wide, or regional, require students to conduct an independent-research project on a subject of their own choosing, then exhibit and defend their findings.

Omega Learning® Center offers Tutoring K-12 with certified teachers for every subject in school. Stop by an Omega Learning® Center near you. http://omegalearning.com/find-tutors/ 

 

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/what-to-expect-grade/moving-ahead-math-and-science

Staying Motivated in High School

To succeed in high school and college, you have to do your best at all times. But sometimes it’s hard to stay motivated, even when you really care about the work you’re doing. Here are five ways to stay on the right track.

1. Focus on High-Impact Activities

The key to success in school is staying focused on your course work. Make a list to get an overall picture of your workload before you start to tackle any of it. Then, make a plan. Although it’s tempting to do the simplest assignments first, those that take more time and effort to accomplish are probably the ones that you’ll learn the most from.

To determine what your priorities are, rank your assignments in the order of their importance. Then rearrange your time and devote more energy toward those that have the greatest impact on your course work and grades. For example, even though all homework assignments are important, studying for a midterm exam takes priority over writing a paragraph for English class. As you complete each task, think of it as another step on your way to college success.

You can handle any project in small chunks.

2. Create New Challenges

Changing your approach can help you stay interested in what you’re doing. If you’ve been given an assignment similar to one you’ve done in the past, think about it in a different way. If you wrote an essay for a creative writing assignment last year, try a poem this time. For book reports, pick a history book instead of another biography.

3. Set Attainable Goals

If you’re having trouble writing a 25-page paper for class because it seems like such a big job, don’t focus on that final number. Break the paper down and consider each section of your paper individually. You can handle any project in small chunks.

4. Find a Social Support Network

Create a group of people around you who want to help you succeed. Mentors can be teachers or family friends who can give you guidance and help you develop new skills. Counselors can help you with planning your courses and starting to explore colleges. You can also reach out to friends and peers who can motivate you by listening and sharing ideas.

5. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments

Give yourself a quick reward when you complete an assignment or task. Take a walk, send an email, get a snack — whatever works for you. Then move on to the next project.

Omega Learning® Center offers Tutoring K-12 with certified teachers for every subject in school. Stop by an Omega Learning® Center near you.  http://omegalearning.com/find-tutors/ 

Source: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-started/inside-the-classroom/tips-for-staying-motivated

January Parent Action Plan

1. Talk to your child.

In terms of school, ask your child how things are going with school and what subjects are their most and least favorite. Ask what they wish would happen so that the rest of the school year is awesome. Find out what he or she thinks are their areas of strength and need. Then share that information with his or her teacher. (More on this in #3.)

Ask about their friends and classmates. Decide if their extra-curricular activities are working out or not. Find out any help is needed with school and friends.

Does your child need you to check in every night? Does your child need to pack his or her backpack each evening before bed? Does your child need to spend less time with a certain friend? What can you, as a parent, do to help?

2.  Get organized.

Help your child organize their backpack and folders. Clean out all of the old so there’s room for the new.

Go through your family folders, emptying out the papers you no longer need. If you have a central “command station” in your house (usually your kitchen, mud room, or office area), clean it out.

Replenish your child’s school supplies, tend to broken binders, run the lunchbox through the washer. Make sure that everyone — and every thing — is geared up to begin the New Year fresh and ready to learn.

3.  Send an email to your child’s teacher.

Make it short and sweet and simply ask if there’s a time you can chat about your child’s progress. Perhaps it’s over the phone, or maybe it’s in person. Maybe email is best.

Share with the teacher what your child told you about his or her needs, and see what you all can do to make it happen. You are a team when it comes to your child’s education; you must all work together to ensure your child’s school success. Make sure the teacher knows that you’re here to help!

Before we know it, we’ll be wrapping up the school year, so don’t let January pass by without adding these three important topics to your to-do list!

Omega Learning® Center offers Tutoring K-12 with certified teachers for every subject in school. Stop by an Omega Learning® Center near you.  http://omegalearning.com/find-tutors/ 

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-raise-reader/3-things-all-parents-should-do-their-kids-january

8 Reading Tips for the Winter Break

Just because it’s winter break, doesn’t mean your kids should stop reading. These tips will help you keep them turning the pages

1. Give books as gifts. Whether it’s for Christmas or Hanukkah, a birthday, or any special occasion, novelty isn’t just a motivator for children — all of us like the shiny new thing we just unwrapped. It’s human nature, so why not use it to promote reading?

2. Tame the nagging dragon. I am a bossy mom. I am. I have to tame my natural desire to nag my kids a lot. When we nag — even if we are nagging about something fun — we suck the fun out of it. Don’t suck the fun out of reading by always suggesting your kids go read.

3. Don’t oversell books. “This is the BEST book ever!” Is it? Really? If we oversell the book we might end up falling flat. Instead, approach books as mysteries. “I heard this was really good, but I want to know what you think!”

4. Start a great book NOW. My 8-year-old and I are reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Tonight he suggested we go to bed early every night so we can get 20 extra minutes of reading in … so he can watch the film during winter break. (But he’s gotta read the book first!) He’s eight and he’s suggesting we go to bed EARLY to read. I wish I could say that is because I am such a great mom, but it has more to do with J.K. Rowling being such a great author.

5. Have a book exchange. For younger kids you could call it a playdate, but older ones might prefer to have it deemed a party. The activities are the same. Everyone brings a book to trade. This is a great way to re-gift any books that were gifted to your kids that they already own, or have no interest in reading.

6. Make time to do nothing. Think about why you read at the beach or on vacation or on a plane. Because there is nothing else to do. I adore reading but life gets busy and sometimes I need it to slow All. The. Way. Down. before I remember to snuggle up with a book. Why do we expect anything different from our kids? Start planning do-nothing-days for your kids to push them back to the bookcase.

7. Pack books for the planes, trains, and automobiles if you travel over the break. Whether you pack a bunch of heavy books or fill up your eReader, have them ready and they will get read.

8. Slow down and let your kids see you reading. Not only will it be good for you to slow down in general, but kids who see their parents read for pleasure are much more likely to read for pleasure themselves.

Source: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/blogs/scholastic-parents-raise-reader/8-tips-getting-your-kids-to-read-over-winter-break

Staying Motivated During Winter Break

You’ve turned in all your assignments, finished all your final exams and attended that very last class. Fall semester is complete.

Now, high schoolers can focus on the relaxing weeks of winter break. Winter break can provide students with the much-needed opportunity to take it easy and to give their minds a break from school work in between semesters.

Of course, while it’s important to unwind for a bit, students should be wary of totally shutting their minds off during this winter vacation. Avoiding brain drain is crucial, as it helps ensure students return for the spring semester with fresh minds to tackle the rest of the school year with success.

This is particularly important for high school juniors and seniors, whose academic performances face especially high stakes with college admissions staff.

So, what can students do to keep their minds active and still enjoy the downtime of winter break? Three current college students shared some suggestions and personal examples.​

1. Read a book or book series:​ This idea might not sound immediately appealing to many students, as they do plenty of reading for their classes throughout the school year. However, required reading can feel like more of a chore than reading for pleasure, and busy school schedules often make it difficult for students to find the free time to do the latter. Enter winter break.

Surina Das, a senior at Arizona State University, recommended students read to keep their minds alert.​

“Take this time to explore new authors and genres, and maybe find something new that you never expected to enjoy,” says Das. “I usually read at least one Jane Austen book each year, and usually during winter break while drinking a cup of tea and snuggling in my blanket.”

Something else to consider is choosing a book that is relevant to a part of your life or perhaps even a course you are taking in school. University of Missouri sophomore Olivia Bleeker says she used this tactic to help her stay fresh in her AP European History class.

“I picked a fictional book based on real historical events to read over break, so that while I wasn’t studying the actual material, my brain was staying informed of that time period and things that were happening during that time,” she says.

2. Engage in thoughtful conversation and activities with others:​ Sometimes, interacting with other people can be just the type of stimulation your brain needs to stay active. Bleeker recalled some creative ways to combine the chaos of family visits during holidays with ideas to fend off brain drain.

This included playing complex board games like Risk and Scrabble with out-of-town relatives, both exercising the brain and catching up with family members. She also found that simply talking with family could open up a world of interesting recollections and lessons.

“I would simply ask my older relatives to tell me stories about their past and when they were growing up. The stories I have heard really grown me as a person and given me a lot of different outlooks on life over my small perspective before having these conversations,” says Bleeker.

“Many times, keeping your brain active doesn’t look like secluding yourself off away from everyone else to solve a Rubik’s cube, but rather incorporating thought-provoking activities into your everyday activities instead of mindless ones,” she says.​

3. Review class​ notes and get organized:​ There is no need to spend an inordinate amount of time during your vacation working ahead on school work, but there are likely at least a few small opportunities for you to make the back-to-school transition easier later.

Mackenzie Miller, a Tennessee Technological University senior,​ says she found this activity quite beneficial.

“Toward the end of break, I [found] it really helpful to look over the last chapter or two of my notes in any yearlong class. That way, the most recent information was fresh in my head and I wasn’t playing catch-up when the second semester started,” she says. “You can forget a lot in a week and a half of winter break in high school, and if you don’t keep up with reviewing, it only gets worse in college.”

Miller also suggested taking some time to organize things like your notes, planner and calendar.

“By keeping everything spaced out in my planner, I was able to keep up with my work and avoid all of the stress that would have come with it. Not only was I less drained, but I was getting my projects done so far in advance that I had time to relax and have fun,” she says. “Letting everything pile up eliminates any time to relax. Plan ahead by organizing your planner, and it’ll make your semester a breeze.”

Source: http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-playbook/articles/2015-12-21/avoid-winter-vacation-brain-drain-with-these-student-approved-tips