Will My Child Be Behind?

Are you concerned that educational disruption due to Covid-19 will leave your child at an academic disadvantage? 

“But what if my child is behind?” is one of the most common concerns of new homeschoolers. No one wants their child to fall behind their peers or to miss out on crucial elements of education. We all want to give our children the very best possible education we can because we want to give them the best shot we can for making their way in this world. 

I want to address this very real anxiety you may be facing, and to offer some things for you to reflect on that might help. 

First, I want to point out the rather obvious fact that we’re all in the same boat. Everyone’s educational plans have been disrupted by the pandemic. Many high school Juniors have had their SATs canceled. That didn’t just happen to your kid. It happened to most of them. Many families are facing the challenge of figuring out a bunch of new technology, habits, and routines to be successful with online learning being produced by teachers who are all trying to figure it out too. Many other families are facing the challenge of being left with little to no guidelines from their schools on how to educate at this time. You are not alone. Most of the kids in the world are in the same boat.

Second, your kids are still learning plenty. The curriculum may look a little different, but the learning has not stopped. Whatever your curriculum was, the new curriculum is “how do we survive a global crisis in the best way we can?” No matter where you are, your priorities have shifted a bit – or a lot, and we’re all learning new skills we hadn’t anticipated needing just a few short weeks ago.

So while your kids may be “behind” in the reading and writing and arithmetic they were learning earlier this month, maybe they’re learning 21st-century tech skills that will serve them well in the future. They’re learning flexibility and creative problem solving and a little more independence. 

If your kids have been given some sort of distance education from their school, do your best with it, but don’t stress out about it. Everyone knows this is hard. Many of your kids’ teachers have their own kids at home trying to learn online while they are trying to teach your kids online. Everything is kind of a mess right now, so do your best but don’t let it add to the stress of an already stressful time.

Which brings me to my third and final point.

This is a wonderful opportunity to step into your role as the primary educator of your child. Surely there are things you want to teach them? This is a great time to share your passion with them. Teach them about the work you’re doing from home. Teach them to ride a bike or throw a ball or bake a pie. Take a virtual field trip together. Read your favorite childhood book aloud to them. Tell them family stories. Invite them to enter more deeply into your family’s faith with you. 

Look up some fun math stuff online (I’ll share resources in a bit!). Read and write poetry together. Go outside and explore nature together (even if it’s just in your back yard!). Learn some constellations. Do some science experiments. Watch some Broadway shows. 

The learning hasn’t stopped. It’s just changed. And if we embrace the challenge, it can be amazing.

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