Schools will soon be opening for the 2021-2022 school year, and students will actually be returning to the school buildings. There will be different protocols in place to prevent another COVID outbreak from wearing masks to social distancing to hand sanitizing. Parents you will definitely need to keep up to date with the ever changing protocols so that your children will know what is expected of them when they start school this year.

You should work with your children to establish your school year schedule soon. It is going to be quite a change of pace if they spent most of the year in a virtual classroom. And it would be a good idea to start the schedule as soon at possible to get all the bugs worked out. For example, what time will they need to get up, when and what will they eat for breakfast, will they buy or take a lunch to school and what time will they need to leave the house. Once you have decided on the schedule you need to follow it so the first morning of school is not a total disaster!

When you have your daily school routine, it is time to consider other important aspects of their school day. A master calendar for the whole family is needed so that you can establish homework, school and sports activities and lessons or tutoring times.

Almost every child has suffered some learning loss during the 2020-2021 school year. This summer is your opportunity to help them make up some of this loss as well as enjoy interacting with other children.

First, check out your local school district to see what programs that they are offering. It is highly possible in-person instruction will be available. These programs will tie in best with what your children will be expected to do in school next year.

Another source is your local parks departments, churches, colleges, YMCAs, and summer camps. Many of these programs will now incorporate some educational programming along with their recreational activities. It will be a fantastic change for your children to enjoy returning to in-person programs with their peers.

Finally, programs will fill up fast so explore your options right away.

States legislatures are busy working on proposals to try to close the learning gap that has occurred since schools closed. The proposals include such things as lengthening the regular school day, expanding afterschool programs, requiring summer school and retaining students who do not meet a certain skill level.

How your state will respond to the challenge of helping students make up this educational deficiency depends on funds that the state has available. All the states are waiting to see how much Federal funding that they are going to receive.

Another factor for the states is to choose a solution that the teachers’ unions will accept. So at this point in time, no one knows exactly what is going to happen. One other idea is to provide online tutoring for those students who need to catch up to their classmates.

Of course, the process of applying to college is always stressful! The Pandemic can be blamed, however, for causing college applicants to be more stressed than usual! As always, the biggest worry is financial aid. Today’s students really worry about what their level of debt will be if they don’t receive sufficient financial help!

There is also a new stress factor. Students simply don’t know whether they will be attending college on campus or online!

Another effect of the Pandemic is high school students’ decisions about where they will attend college. Many students had to forgo their in-person campus visitation and opt instead for an online tour. As a result, many are choosing to attend schools closer to home because they are already familiar with the school. This pleases many parents as students might elect to live at home rather than on campus.

Whether or not it is the Pandemic, students’ decisions about which colleges they will apply to are increasingly based on which college is the best fit for their future careers.

Everyone agrees that all students have suffered a learning loss during this COVID Pandemic. The question becomes will everyone be promoted or will some children be retained! This is a very difficult decision for teachers to make with no standardized testing and limited in-person contact with students.

What you should know is that most students are retained because of poor reading skills. Also, the depressing fact about retention is that it is rarely successful. Students simply don’t get the help that they require. And ultimately, too many retained students eventually drop out before graduating from high school.

We suggest that you do the following things to avoid having your child retained:

  1. Make sure the child gets an adequate amount of sleep and nutritious meals.
  2. Show school officials the research on the failure of retention to help students.
  3. Make sure the school investigates if your child has a learning disability that needs to be addressed.

Many student are spending a good portion of the day just sitting in front of a computer during this Pandemic. Because of the stress of online learning, children need something in order to activate their endorphins to keep them in a positive frame of mind. Many schools have stepped up and are providing online gym classes for their students. Some schools have even provided Fitbit devices for their students so that they can login their daily at home physical activities and receive gym credit for them. Unfortunately, not all schools offer gym classes to their students.

Your children really need to exercise for their well-being. If the school is not providing it, you need to ensure that they get sufficient exercise. Lucky families who live in warm climates should have their children participate in outside activities such as running, hiking, jogging, biking and so on. Families in cold climates will need to be a little more creative. The Internet, especially YouTube, offers classes in Yoga, Zumba, dance, aerobics and children’s workouts. Let your children choose the age-appropriate activity that they will most enjoy.

You really should encourage your children to volunteer as it can give them so many benefits. Children can start volunteering at an early age. You might wish to introduce them to volunteering by choosing a family activity. It offers these perks:

  • Helping them develop a pattern of being do-gooders.
  • Giving them an opportunity to spend quality time together as a family.
  • Introducing them to new interests and possible careers.
  • Beefing up their college resumes.

Especially in this time of COVID-19 Pandemic, many organization are lacking volunteers. In this new virtual world, many of these opportunities are online. For example, older children can serve as tutors for younger children. They can also play game with both seniors and younger children online to break the monotony of social distancing. Your family can google volunteering opportunities in your community.

Life is definitely going to be easier for students applying to colleges. After June 2021, the SAT optional essay and individual subject tests will no longer be offered. This certainly reduces the amount of test preparation future college applicants will need to do. Every college will decide whether to consider subject test scores of students who have taken these tests.

Colleges that are interested in learning about students’ strengths in individual subjects may instead rely upon AP scores. Therefore, an increased emphasis may be placed on students taking AP courses in the future.

The College Board made the decision to eliminate these tests now because of the pandemic. However, it was being considered earlier. The next change that is being worked on is the digital delivery of the SAT in the future.

Parents usually never look for a tutor unless they find that their children are having a real difficult time academically. Unfortunately, many children are now finding themselves in this situation because of online learning. And educators don’t really know how much students have failed to learn because very limited standardized testing has been done.

If you believe that your children are falling behind academically, a tutor may be the answer to improving your children’s academic skills. You don’t have to look far or spend much money to find a tutor. Many high school and college students in your own neighborhood could tutor your children successfully. Plus, do not overlook older children in your own family.

Research has clearly shown that tutoring is the most effective way to improve academic achievement. So don’t hesitate to get your children this additional support, if needed.

It is not that your children are unable to persist. Almost all children will spend endless hours on electronic devices playing games or following social media. However, when it comes to online schooling children often become frustrated or discouraged and do not persist with their lessons. It is understandable that this happens. Unfortunately, this has caused many battles in households.

Here are our suggestions about possible ways to get your children to persist longer with their online lesson.

1. Make sure that they have a comfortable spot to work on their computers. Be sure that it is tailored to their size. A first grader and a high school senior should have totally different workspaces.

2. No matter their age, children should get up and move every 20 minutes. It could be as little as standing up and stretching.

3. Have a daily schedule, post it, and be sure to follow it. It should include definite times for meals and recess.

4. Incentivize your children to do their online work by rewarding them with something they truly value. Try to avoid giving them cash or toys. Younger children will respond to stickers and older ones to picking pizza or movies.

5. Acknowledge to your children that you appreciate that online learning is difficult.

6. Help your children to develop a “Can Do” mindset.

7. Make sure that your expectations about their online schooling are realistic.