The bad news (aka the most unsurprising news ever): a global pandemic will cause school-related shortfalls.
The good news: there’s enough time this summer to take a well-deserved break AND build school skills and confidence ahead of the new school year!
To make an effective summer learning plan for your child, you may find it helpful to read about the common areas of concern we’ve noticed this past school year. Following that info, we share some pointers for how to weave learning into your child’s summer.
Online and in-person, teachers have gone above and beyond to keep students engaged and growing during this pandemic. But with the obstacles presented by the past year, classes may not have stayed on pace with their typical curriculum. This could lead to challenges for students next school year, particularly in math and world languages, or any honors or AP classes. These courses build upon the previous year’s lessons, so getting a good handle on those pre-requisite skills is important.
Reading and Writing
Some of our tutors have noticed that their students have been assigned fewer novels this year. Lack of practice with that kind of “endurance” reading impacts everything from time management to vocabulary to fluency. Similarly, kids have been doing less writing – as in essay writing and just plain old writing by hand. These skills won’t bounce back easily, especially if they were shaky to begin with.
Executive Functioning Skills
If your child attended school remotely part-time or full-time, they likely experienced new organizational and time management problems. It’s hard to build a school routine when you’re not actually in school daily with all of its infrastructure and consistency! Self-advocacy – even something as simple as asking your teacher for help on a math problem – also became more complicated. When executive functioning skills are off-kilter, academic skills are also affected.
We’ve heard over and over again from tutors that students are going to have a tough time returning to taking tests the “normal” way. Some teachers gave fewer tests this past year, and some allowed open-notes or open-books. Students felt more relaxed taking tests at home, and, unfortunately, cheating was pretty common. Kids need to refresh (or maybe even discover) study skills and test-taking confidence.
Prepare a plan for summer learning to build confidence! Without a timeline and goals, it will be too easy to put it off, and all of a sudden it’s a week before school starts.
This might feel intimidating, but it can be as simple as saying:
- Every morning in June, I’m going to spend ten minutes practicing the times tables
- Twice a week through the summer, I’m going to spend an hour and a half reading novels and typing up new vocabulary words and definitions
- Once a week through the summer, I’ll meet with a tutor to review Spanish I material
You can read about specific strategies and resources by grade level over here, and about our summer tutoring options here. We want to help you and your child feel good about their academic skills and school habits after such a challenging year!
Contact us if you’d like to talk about summer learning to boost your child’s confidence!