Three months. That’s an entire quarter of the year. It’s also about the same length of time as the typical school-aged child’s summer break.
Of course valuable for fun family adventures and vacations but also for many students to catch up academically.
Thousands of students across the U.S. fell behind in school during year one of the Coronavirus Pandemic. Unfortunately, many still have not caught up. Some experts are even calling the setback an “academic achievement crisis”.
Even aside from the effects of Covid-19, the average student loses 2.6 months of math learning during the summer months.
Needless to say, if your child isn’t meeting grade-level expectations in certain areas, they certainly aren’t alone.
And catching up during the school year isn’t an easy task.
Students may be expected to continue to work on learning skills from the previous school year while simultaneously picking up new concepts during the current year. It can be overwhelming, and leave parents wondering how to help their child get back on track.
Whether your child is academically behind because of school closures, lack of engagement during virtual learning, or simply difficulty retaining certain concepts, summertime can be an opportunity to focus on learning.
Here’s how to take advantage of the summer to help your child catch up academically!
#1 Enroll in Summer School
Summer school programs are offered through several public school districts across the country. What once may have had a stigma attached to enrolling is now a welcome opportunity for children to enhance skills in certain areas.
Advantages of summer school include:
- Focus on core subject areas (for example, math and reading)
- Unique, motivating lessons
- Options for either virtual learning or in-person instruction
- Increase students’ confidence through a unique learning environment that can include partnering with peers
- Helps students retain information from the previous school year to prevent further academic delays during the upcoming year
If you want to enroll your child in summer school, start looking for options early in the Spring.
#2 Hire a Private Tutor
Hiring a private tutor to work with your child is another effective way to take advantage of more free time over the summer.
A tutor can focus on certain subject matter that your child may be struggling with, and offers one-on-one support that many students can benefit from.
Even a few sessions over the summer can help. One size does not fit all. In a busy classroom, teachers aren’t always able to customize teaching strategies to best suit each student.
A tutor can observe your child’s specific learning style – for example, visual or auditory.
By determining the most effective teaching strategies for your child, you can tailor your approach when working with him or her at home during the summer.
#3 Create an Educational Environment at Home
Reduce screen time and help your child zero in on practicing some school subjects by creating a dedicated learning space at home.
Make sure your child has a comfortable space to learn, like a clutter-free desk in a quiet room. You can incorporate a visual schedule with daily tasks to complete and a fun reward at the end, like going out for ice cream.
Reading is one of the best ways to help your child catch up academically over the summer!
Don’t let your child’s literacy skills decline over those three months. Use the extra time during the summer to take trips to the library. Letting your child choose books that are interesting to him or her can increase the motivation to read!
#5 Take Educational Field Trips
Day trips to local museums, national parks, monuments, and zoos can help your child apply concepts learned on paper to real life. It can also be a great way to teach through STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education.
#6 Start Individualized Services
Delayed expressive and receptive language skills, reading difficulties, and executive functioning difficulties can lead to decreased academic performance.
If you have concerns with your child’s speech and language development, consider seeking help over the summer starting with an evaluation by a Speech-Language Pathologist.
Sensory processing difficulties and fine motor delays can also interfere with learning. An evaluation and therapy with a certified Occupational Therapist can improve your child’s skills in these areas.