How to Help Your Kids Overcome the COVID Learning Slump
For many students, the school closures due to COVID-19 have meant an end to getting their schoolwork and assignments graded, lowered responsibility, and plenty of time for videogames and television.
Unfortunately, this means it can also be a time when many students lose much of the academic skills and knowledge they’ve gained throughout the school year before the pandemic changed life as we know it. The fact is, learning loss due to coronavirus school closures, dubbed the ‘COVID Slump’ by experts, is becoming a common phenomenon for many students across the nation– and one that’s actually preventable if the right measures are taken.
Eric Oldfield, Chief Business Officer of Brainly, the world’s online learning community, and father of two school-age daughters, is well aware of the risks of two months out of the classroom can have on students, and he has tips aimed at combating it.
Consider this: About 84% of U.S. parents are worried that COVID-19 related changes to their child’s education schedule and routine will negatively impact their learning, and 61% are worried their child’s college and career prospects will be negatively impacted, according to a recent Brainly survey of 1,600 moms and dads.
“During these challenging times, many parents like me are realizing it’s more important than ever to go the extra mile to keep kids’ minds active and engaged. We’re all trying to find new creative ways to get kids excited about learning⎼ leaving sidewalk chalk math problems outside for kids to solve, co-writing a poetry book together to learn sentence syntax, creating a giant family tree on butcher paper while learning about genetics… you name it. As long as they’re thinking, learning, and having fun,” says Oldfield.
So how can parents prevent their children from backsliding during school closures? Here are Oldfield’s 5 tips to help prevent COVID-19 learning loss.
1. CREATE HAND-BUILT PROJECTS. With all the screen time kids are getting from online learning (not to mention their non-educational screen time), sometimes the best thing you can do to get kids flexing their brain muscles is to have them physically design and create something with their own two hands like a 3D puzzle, creative board game, pop-up storybook, or time capsule, to name a few examples.
2. TAKE UP AN EDUCATIONAL HOBBY. Now is the perfect opportunity for students to take up a new hobby. Learning a musical instrument, taking a coding class, or joining an online trivia league can help students of any age stay sharp through the pandemic days. Genealogy, for instance, is a fast-growing hobby and can easily be done online at home, so perfect during school closure periods. Websites such as https://www.genealogybank.com/explore/newspapers/all allow you to research your family tree and learn more about your ancestors, their accomplishments, and the time in which they lived.
3. MOVE THE LEARNING OUTDOORS. It may seem basic, but a little sunshine and fresh air are excellent for everyone’s mental health and can help bored students reinvigorate their learning by helping them escape the monotony of their home learning space. Physical activity can also help memory recall and increases mental dexterity. Try passing around a soccer ball in the backyard while learning the state capitals, or playing hopscotch while reciting new vocab terms.
4. ENROLL THEM IN AN ONLINE EDUCATIONAL COURSE. Think of it as a virtual summer camp. But before you blindly sign up for some online program, look for some specialized programs designed to keep children learning with engaging activities and personalized instruction, and take advantage of these slower months boost problem areas.
5. ENCOURAGE THEM TO KEEP THEIR CURIOSITY PIQUED. Even inquisitive children can use some coaxing to keep learning over the summer. There are many services, like Brainly, where children can ask questions, learn new things, and keep stimulated to prevent the COVID slump.
Regardless of what you choose, staying mentally active during school closures (and throughout summer) can give your child a leg up come September.