Across Indiana, schools are opting into different methods of reopening. In Indianapolis alone, districts are taking varying approaches. No matter which district or school your child attends, there are things you can do to help prepare them for a successful 2020-2021 school year.
Talk about it
The pandemic has hit a lot of families hard, some harder than others. Between schools closing their doors and parents tackling the task of supporting their children’s educations at home, to lost jobs and loved ones who have battled the virus, it’s been a tough year. Your children may have questions about the pandemic. A lot is happening in the world right now. Don’t sway away from talking to them about the tough topics. By talking honestly with your kiddos, you’re helping them express their feelings and leaving the door open for them to come to you for conversations in the future. Children of all ages have experienced trauma recently and helping them cope will allow them to better focus in school.
School needs to matter.
Grades, tracking attendance, grade-level content, and opportunities for acceleration are a must regardless if your child will be learning in school or at home. Between summer learning loss and the “COVID-slide,” catching up and staying on track will be detrimental for your child’s academic wellbeing. Make sure you talk to your child, to their teacher and their school about the importance of this academic year and make sure they know, you want your child to be challenged. Every day needs to count!
Connect with your child’s school and teachers
At Stand, we always share the importance of advocating for your child and forming relationships with your children’s school administrators and teachers. This year, it’s more important than ever. Be sure to meet with your child’s teacher frequently. Taking virtual video calls with your child’s teacher is a proactive way for families and educators to build true partnerships and connections. During these virtual calls, ask the teacher if they are evaluating where your child stands and if there is any extra work they can have to catch up in areas where they have potentially fallen behind. If your school isn’t offering virtual home visits, learn more about that here.
Keep your days structured
No matter if your child is learning online or in-person this coming school year, keep their days structured. While some parents may choose to first send their children to school, there is a chance that remote instruction will be implemented again this fall. Regardless of what happens, a strong schedule will help your child stay focused on schoolwork. Your child’s schedule likely won’t look the same as it did last year and that’s ok. Give yourself some grace and do the best you can to set your children up for success. If your child is going to school, make sure they are coming home and doing homework, catching up on any lost material and challenging themselves with new work. If your child will be learning from home, make sure they have a structure for their days. For all children, having a dedicated space for schoolwork is a great idea.
Make learning fun
There are so many ways to make learning fun for your children. If you haven’t already read our parent guide focused on healthy activities, there’s a section on learning activities that get kids moving. Beyond those options, one of the best ways to make learning fun is to relate the content your children are learning to the things they are already passionate about.
With so much learning happening at home since school buildings closed in the spring, try to incorporate some hands-on activities such as simple home science experiments. The more you can connect learning to real life, the more engaged your children will feel. If you’re struggling to connect harder topics to real life, you’re not alone. In those instances, focus on engaging your child about the topic by asking them to create a song about it, draw a picture (no matter their age), or do a mini-presentation as if they were the teacher and you are their student.