Students across the U.S. have been on an extended break from school since March, with little hope of returning to a traditional school setting this fall. With the current pandemic and abrupt move to distance learning, it is expected that students will fall behind in educational benchmarks. On average, students lose the equivalent of two months of math and reading skills during the summer months, according to the Department of Education, leaving parents looking for ways to keep military kids engaged in learning.
Now there is the added challenge of supplementing learning for time spent outside the classroom. Here are some practical ideas to incorporate learning into daily life.
Usual visits to a local library and participating in a summer reading program aren’t possible for many this year, but there are plenty of other ways to get your children reading. Is there a classic that you want to share with your kids? Take turns reading portions of the book out loud each night as a family.
Reading logs are also a great way to track your child’s reading habits. Set a weekly goal of how many minutes a week your child should read.
Military families also have access to free programs like United Through Reading that offer pandemic-proof learning.
“Independent research has shown that UTR directly improves morale of both the service member and their family by maintaining a vital feeling of togetherness. There has never been a more important time than now to reassure military children that they can count on story time with their military loved one to help them through feelings of fear and sadness and keep them united through reading,” says Molly Haskin, Director of Army and Air Force Programs at United Through Reading.
Come up with a game plan to make learning fun. What can you do so the kids don’t even realize they are learning? Start by including them in the planning: where would you like to take a family trip to? What would be the cost for the trip via air verses automobile? What are some scenic or historical area that are close to you or events that are still happening in your area?
For example, September is Emergency Preparedness Month and the American Red Cross offers resources to teach kids how to get ready for disasters and emergencies. A family project can include everything from study natural disasters your location is prone to and putting together a kit. Start by visit American Red Cross.
Get out and about if you can. If you can’t physically visit places because of closures, many zoos, museums and libraries are offering virtual events and tours. Visit local beaches, trails, and state parks.
Check out the National Park Service’s free pass for military at https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.
Everywhere you go there is an opportunity to use math.
- At home: in the kitchen cooking, plant a garden, spreading mulch or gravel.
- In the grocery store: price matching & comparison, weighing produce and guessing the total bill.
- On the road: come up with some clever games. Not just how many red cars do you see, but how many miles is it to your destination? How much gas do you need to get there? Teach them about budgeting for a trip.
Use your imagination. Think back to what you use to do for family fun. Keep it simple, nothing elaborate. The idea is to encourage your child to use their imagination. Build a fort on a rainy day. Paint on a blank canvas, blow bubbles. How are your chalk skills? The driveway makes a great canvas. Not sure what to create or where to begin? The Olympics in Japan may have been canceled this year but you can create your own backyard competition.
The web and apps
These days most of us think our children spend too much time online, and the reality is most of them probably are. Before the kids start watching shows and movies or playing games, set a time for them to do some online educational activities. These websites offer a variety of activities in various subjects like math, language arts and history:
With amended schedules and canceled events, many of us find ourselves with more free time. Take this time to take learning outside the traditional classroom by using what’s around you.Read comments