According to Unesco, the education of nearly 1.6 billion pupils in 190 countries has so far been affected by COVID-19– that’s 90% of the world’s school-age children. In the United States, we have roughly 55.1 million students who are in danger of returning to school in the fall with 50% of what they learned this past school year. In some cases, many children will be a full academic year behind. Furthermore, this pandemic has the following debilitating tentacles: cultural, social, economic, and mental health.
It's no secret that the have nots are being affected the most by COVID-19's traumatic impact. Families in affluent communities with financial resources, stable employment, flexible work from home, and childcare arrangements are weathering the corona storm pretty safely. On the other hand, families who are in the eye of the storm are those who are renting their housing, homeless, working in low-pay fields that are hardest hit by the economic impacts, unemployed, experiencing food insecurity, family instability, death of a loved one, and other shocks from this disruption. Imagine a kid trying to fight through those stressors to focus on learning. It's not impossible, but highly improbable. If there's ever a time for communities to come together to form villages and take care of one another, this is it! Moreover, take advantage of the free resources in your cities. If you're able, be a blessing to someone in need. Seek mental health counseling for your family. Your children will not be able to learn and thrive with a fractured emotional state of mind. Bedrock Counseling and Breakthrough Care and Resource Center are among a host of reputable clinicians.
Prior to the Corona virus, research has proven that academic achievement typically slows or declines over the summer. In addition to summer slide, add COVID-19 slide to that equation and you're left with an education system racing down a slippery slope. From the time of school closure in April until school reopens, some students will be at a deficit of about 20 weeks or 5 months with no solid education. So, what's the solution? The difficult answer is there are no easy solutions, it's going to be an ongoing process. In the mean time, challenge your children to spend less time on electronics and more time reading high interest and culturally relevant books. Reinforce to them that they are living through historic times right now, they're the ones who will have the power to change some of the ills in our society. If they have access to the internet and educational software accounts from their schools, have them log in to complete lessons and explain to you what they learned. If you can afford it, please hire a tutor! It'll lessen the pandemic learning gaps and pay off big time in the long run. Contact me if you need a referral, I happen to know a lot of solid teachers you can hire to help.
While districts and educators have the hard task of planning curriculums, processes, and procedures to help children, parents have the ability to provide more effective and constant support. The notion that education starts at home is more than an adage, it's real! My philosophy has always been and will always be, school teachers have your babies for a season, parents have them for a lifetime. This means that teachers are HELPING you educate your scholars. Home school your children! Believe it or not EVERY parent or guardian have always homeschooled their children. It's either you've been equipping them with life skills to help them succeed in life or characteristics that are setting them up for failure. Be mindful of the daily lessons you're teaching at home. Although the present state of the world is challenging, you can model hope and grit to your kids so they can believe they will rise above these tragedies. As a former classroom teacher, trust me when I tell you that those foundational skills from home transfer to student academic achievement.
Yes, we're living through a catastrophe in every sense of the word, but this too shall pass. In the mean time, be as progressive as you can until the storm is gone. Your children don't have to be a victim of summer slide if you help them ride the waves of these difficult times. Remember school doesn't start in August, classes are in session in your home everyday!