As you well know, your children’s education has radically changed in the last few months with e-learning becoming the new norm. And considerable uncertainty exists about when traditional learning will return. You are probably concerned about what you should be doing this summer to enhance their education.
First of all, you need to cut yourselves a little slack! While your children have been deprived of the normal educational setting, their time with you has been very valuable to their educational growth. All the educational experts agree that spending quality family time leads to greater success in school.
Because of lost school time, you may need to focus more than usual on educational activities this summer. However, you do not need to be your children’s teachers. Instead, the Internet largely can do the job for you. Not only does every state offer free online education for every grade, there is not a subject that is not supported by some website. Take the time to go online and investigate the many choices that exist.
You are probably aware of the areas where your children may need help and what will appeal to them. Once you have established this, set a daily time for educational work. But don’t go overboard with too much time devoted to schoolwork. An hour is fine for younger children and two for older ones. The computers used for academic work need to be used in a spot that can be viewed by adults. And younger children who are not as accustomed to online work will need a parent or caregiver to help them some of the time as will some older children.
While work on school skills may or may not be necessary for your children, one thing that you should do is to focus on helping them develop a keen sense of intellectual curiosity. It will serve them well in the future. How do you do this? Your opportunities are limitless. And your best friend in accomplishing this endeavor is again the Internet. Use search engines to find topics from the life cycle of frogs to the American Revolution to capture their interest. Here a few interesting websites that you might include in your search:
• This Day in History
• Fun and Free Educational Websites for Kids
• 33 Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions to Parents While Schools Are Closed
• The Best Nature Webcams for Science Learning at a Distance
Here are some things you should consider aside from how much education your children received after their schools closed. Every summer children lose some of what they have learned during the school year. This is more true of math than any other subject. It is wise for parents to find out what math skills their children need to have acquired at their grade level. This information is available on state education websites as well as the Common Core website. Unfortunately, not all of these skills may have been taught this year so it would be wise to have your children study them. We have found that videos on the Internet are especially helpful in learning new math concepts. You will also find the Kahn Academy offers helpful math materials at all grade levels.
There is no skill in the first three grades that is more important than learning how to read. And after that being a good reader is the key to success in every subject. Go on our dearteacher website, and you can determine your children’s reading level. If they are reading below their grade level, check out how to improve their reading skills under Reading Skills. The techniques described here really work. And look at the section on Reading Activities to keep your good readers’ skills sharp. One activity that we particularly endorse is the family reading half hour in which everyone sits in the same room and reads.
Helping your children work on their academic skills as well as develop intellectual curiosity includes finding some fun activities for them to do. On our website we have loads of science projects, art activities, social studies and other activities which can be fun and educational at the same time. Games should be considered so everyone in the family can have fun together.
Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher. com or to the Dear Teacher website.