Four Signs Your Child May Be Falling Behind

student head on desk
Teaching Methodology

Four Signs Your Child May Be Falling Behind

Panicked by the unknown, but hopeful it would blow over quickly, the onset of the pandemic has caused parents to struggle with navigating student learning. However, this season has stretched out much longer than anyone expected. Now, parents are not only worried about contracting the virus, but also about the long term consequences the decline in education will cause. As a mom and a professional educator, I am witnessing the academic hardships this season is and will continue to create for students. Here is what you should be watching out for in your student.

Decline in Reading

Students should be reading an equivalent number of books or chapters per week to the grade he or she is in. For example, a third-grader should be reading three appropriately leveled books or three chapters of a more challenging book each week. An in-person classroom environment naturally lends itself to achieve this goal through weekly trips to the school library, teacher read alouds, and daily time set aside for sustained silent reading. With online learning, many students are facing major setbacks in reading. Unfortunately, this deficit is not isolated and directly impacts a students’ success in all other subjects areas.

*Pro-Tip: Alexa offers read alouds! My daughter loves asking Alexa to read her a story!

Stunted Study Skills

While mastering study skills is a common struggle, if your student has not regularly studied and taken a pencil and paper assessment, his or her study skills are suffering. The brain will weaken in its ability to retain new academic information if the “study muscle” is not regularly flexed. When students are in traditional classroom environments, they are given frequent and varied assessments, while teachers model study skills. However, with the shift to online learning, many students are not even being given regular tests and quizzes, but those who are, are not engaging in healthy study habits.

Irregular Writing Projects

Many students do not naturally love writing, but writing is an invaluable life skill. If your student has not written at least the number of pieces or full paragraphs equivalent to their age, since August 2020, their writing is falling behind. For a six year old, the student should have written six pieces (poems, stories, letters, etc.). This does not mean flawless and perfect handwriting, but the act of transferring unique thoughts onto paper creates synapses in the brain that will not only contribute to the development of effective writing skills but improves cognitive function. If this describes your child, his or her academic potential is being hindered.

Disappearing Math Homework

Math scaffolds on itself as each concept builds on a previously learned one. The math skills that have not been mastered during the months of online learning are creating gaps in student learning. If those gaps are not adequately bridged, the probability of a student struggling in math for years to come becomes increasingly heightened. In a traditional school year, math proficiency is gained through both instruction and repetition. If your child is not completing nightly math homework, in addition to attending math class, he or she is falling behind.

*Pro-Tip: IXL is a great website that you, as the parent, can set goals for your student to complete, while they have fun doing regular math practice.

Wanting nothing but to help our children, we are all doing our best to navigate this bumpy road one day at a time. However, please do not ignore the signs that your child’s learning may be suffering. If any of these indicators resonate with you, take the issue seriously. Whether hiring a tutor, engaging in a small group learning pod, or implementing a preliminary assessment to identify gaps in learning, there are numerous ways that this unforeseen academic challenge can be faced head-on.

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