As K-12 students get ready for in-person learning, parents want to know how to help their child succeed in core subjects like math. There are worries about learning loss during the pandemic. It is important for a child and their parents to know that some measure of falling behind is normal. As divorced couples attempt to co-parent, without having to argue and hire a local divorce lawyer to settle their differences, getting a child prepared for the challenging learning during COVID is a great first step.
The pandemic has led children and parents to be frustrated, sad, and angry. Emotions have impacted academic learning. They will continue to impact achievement in the coming year.
Parents can help by adopting a positive attitude. They should encourage their child to move forward.
It is OK for a parent to assist and guide their child’s academic work at home. This helps ensure their child receives guidance and support out of the classroom. It is fine to show approval and provide rewards when a child completes academic work.
Create a reward system
Schools often reward students who complete work on time with approval and small prizes. Parents can do this too. Yet it’s a good idea to move away from buying things. A parent can create a “sticker card” for the week. Award a smiley face or sticker of the child’s choice when the child gets certain tasks done. Other rewards can include fake gold coins, the chance to watch a favorite video, a short walk outside, the chance to shoot some hoops with the parent, and the chance to engage in a cooking or arts and crafts activity with the parent.
Reading aloud works
A child’s reading skills and ability to present to others improve when they read aloud. Sit with your child and alternate reading pages in a book of their choice. It will ease their anxiety if you or they choose a book that is at or slightly below grade level. Your child may want to take the lead and read a full page. Avoid correcting mistakes until after the child completes a page.
Repetition helps math skills
Look at the state standards for your child’s math instruction. See what skills your child needs to be learning. Then research and print out worksheets that drill them on exercises for the skills. If your child has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), review the plan and their current progress in the subject.
Before your child starts work, give them scratch paper. Encourage them to use a lot of it to show their work. Look over the work to see what mistakes they may be making. It’s a good idea to find online resources that have answer keys.
Later you may want to time your child on certain exercises. If your child does not do the whole worksheet, make sure they do several of the easiest problems, a few of the middle-range problems, and two or three of the hardest problems. This gets them used to not everything being easy.
Art extensions relieve stress
In class, teachers often assign art activities that relate to a reading, science, or math unit. Students draw, paint, or cut up materials after the initial work is done. The “art extension” from the primary activity helps students relax. Then they understand the concepts in the primary activity better.
It is a great idea for a parent to ask their child to draw a picture or make a craft after the child practices the primary activity. For example, if a child is learning to subtract, they could draw pictures where there is a group of things, and some of the items disappear. Such as a picture of a tree full of 17 apples, then a picture of two children picking apples from the tree, and finally a picture of the tree with only three apples left.
The child can write the equation: “17 – 3 = 14” at the bottom. The parent should put the child’s work on display in the kitchen or another place where family members can see it and talk about it. Even if the artwork itself is not superb, the fact that the child connected art and mathematics is amazing.