Regardless of hemisphere, most schools are currently approaching a major break and you will have some time off.  Students often want to know what they can do over break to help them with their progress in IB History and while my list may not seem conventional, it will probably be similar to what your parents think:

  • Sleep 8 to 9 hours a night but don’t sleep too much.  Too many IB students try to catch up on their sleep during holidays, but too much sleep will lead to late sleeping, which will lead to late nights, which will throw you off.  Instead, get up at a decent hour and enjoy the.  And then – go to bed at a decent hour.  There are so many things tempting you to stay up late (see my next point) but resist the urge and allow your body to reset itself.
  • Turn off your computer, iPhone, iPod and all electronic devices for 2 consecutive days.  The first day will be hard – you are probably so accustomed to the instant information, connection and photography, but take the time to enjoy the moment you are in, the place you are in and the people you are with.  After the 2 days are over, you can take all the selfies you want, but for those 2 days, detox.  It’s good for your brain and spirit.
  • Eat really good food.  This does not mean eat a lot of food, or eat whatever you like.  Eat things you like – if they aren’t so healthy, engage in moderation.  If you have been craving fresh pineapple, go for it.  Try to cook something that you like in a restaurant but have never had at home.
  • Exercise regularly.  The Romans had an adage for this: mens sana in corpore sano: a healthy mind in a healthy body.  Get out and go for a walk; use your bicycle, or go for a swim.  It will free your mind and leave you relaxed.
  • Go out for coffee or tea with someone you want to know better.  Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who fought in the Second World War or your aunt lived in 4 continents in her 20s.  You always wonder about their lives but never had a chance to ask them any direct questions – there has never been time.  Well, screw up your courage, phone them and invite them to tea.  No matter how it turns out you will have an experience to remember
  • Read something fun.  I know that Margaret Macmillan beckons; and E Bradford Burns, and Henry Kissinger.  But a good potboiler may be just what need.  Read Ken Follett instead for the world wars or Carlos Fuentes for Mexico.  Sometimes a novel is better at conveying information than a history text because the writer has artistic license and can set the scene.  In a similar vein
  • Watch Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia or some other epic historical movie that was done in Technicolor before your parents were born.  If you are feeling really eccentric, check out Dr. Strangelove or Modern Times and view the world in black and white.  You won’t regret it.


I’ll be back in January with a more conventional blog.