Steps to Take when Learning Online
We often worry if our children are doing their best, but what do we do when we think they’re falling behind? Many parents feel that their children are falling behind this year, especially since the start of the COVID pandemic in March of 2020 when school operations were interrupted.
Falling behind may also mean different things to different parents. For some, it is simply when the child is not advancing as much as usual rather than that the child is performing below grade level standards. Sometimes it is a case of a child starting to fall behind as gaps in knowledge accumulate.
My daughter did not do well with learning in a large virtual classroom when her school switched in March 2020. She is a kinesthetic learner, so she learns by doing. She needed a smaller class size and more individual attention to learn properly. We started homeschooling. A lot of teachers I know are having trouble connecting with every student in their large virtual classrooms, and when parents don’t intervene, students can fall through the cracks.
Whether you are concerned because of the effects of the COVID pandemic, or for any other reason, here are some steps to take when you feel your child is falling behind:
Communicate with your child’s teacher about your concerns
If there is an at-home reason that your child is falling behind you need to talk to your child’s teacher. They probably have no idea! Especially with remote learning, teachers are having less personal connection with students, and therefore don’t know if your child is capable of more or is having a tough time. Let the teacher know that you are concerned and get up to date on what they might be missing. Here is also an opportunity to express to your teacher that while your child is meeting grade level expectations he or she is not as engaged or advancing as rapidly as previously.
A tip for all parents and all children in every aspect of education is to read to - and with your child. Children who read at home have a higher vocabulary, which leads to higher grades and more curious learners. Reading with your child daily is proven to increase concentration abilities as well as increased levels of creativity. Many teachers would say that reading is the core of education, and increased reading will lead to an improvement in education in general. Make it something you and your child do together in your daily routine.
Advocate for your child; contact the school counselor
If you know your child could be doing better, contact the school. Your child may need additional help or could be placed in a more challenging class. Many times students need the intervention of an elementary counselor or principal to make sure your child gets the services they need. Elementary school counselors are trained specifically in child development and will be able to assist you if your child needs a one-on-one aid, additional aids for reading, or any other school provided services. Parents are often not aware of all the resources available in the school.
Hold your child accountable at home
Make sure your child is being held accountable for things at home as well as things at school. This is key! Expect your child to complete their chores as well as schoolwork. Something as simple as clearing their plate when they are done with a meal can increase accountability. Designate a specific time when you are available to sit with your child while they do their school work, then you can make sure they are completing it and you are there if they need any help. Going over their schoolwork with them, or simply asking them to tell you about what they learned in school this week can be very effective. Your child will be excited to reteach you what they learned, and in return retain the knowledge better.
Extra classes to challenge your child
Know when to enroll your child in special classes; sometimes a child will slack off if they’re bored or not challenged enough. If your child is really struggling or seems inattentive, there are many services outside your school that you can look into. Turn to professionals from private educational services, such as MonsterEducation.com, they offer many classes in small sizes of just 4-6 kids that can help your child reach their full academic capabilities and spark a love for learning new subjects.
If you are worried, reach out. Chances are, especially in this social climate, a lot of parents feel the same way you do. Not having in-person learning affects children in different ways, while some can thrive in the visual and auditory learning of virtual schooling, kinesthetic learners will need additional assistance to help them thrive.
Stephanie Witusik is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of two children, and a writer. She resides in Central New York State. When she isn’t writing you can find Stephanie partaking in the art of charcuterie boards, painting, cycling, baking, and having epic dance parties with her family.