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.

When teachers were suddenly thrust into the virtual world of teaching online, it was a shock to them! They were not prepared, and the initial platforms that teachers were using to present their online lessons just had the students as passive observers. As a result many students found it difficult to stay engaged with the lesson.

Fortunately, online learning is changing. New platforms are being developed that broaden and enrich online learning. These platforms allow the students to interact with the lesson and become active learners. No longer do virtual students have to sit and stare at a screen for hours.

At first many teachers were challenged with how to present their lessons online! Universities have now created online classes to show teachers how to present online lessons so that students become engaged and truly learn from them.

When students return to the classroom, it is entirely possible that some of their assignments will continue to be online as it broadens their educational experience.

Some children are getting short-changed because they have teachers who are not adapting well to presenting lessons online. Also many children have been assigned to classes with first-year teachers. New teachers need the support of experienced teachers to learn how to handle their students and the wide variety of learning levels within their classrooms.

What can parents do in this situation?

  1. Go to your state’s Department of Education website and find out what your children should be learning at their grade level.
  2. If your children are not learning what they should be learning, investigate using your state’s free online school. This established virtual curriculum meets state guidelines and has experienced online teachers.

Most online sessions for students doing virtual schooling are composed of work in academic subjects. Fortunately, students are still able to participate in many elective classes and extracurricular activities. Here are some of the fun things that students are doing:

  1. School Clubs: like the Harry Potter Book Club
  2. Rehearsing and presenting school plays
  3. Participating in band, orchestra, and choir practices and concerts
  4. Speech and debate contests as well as trivia contests
  5. Gym time with aerobics and dance
  6. Attending school assemblies
  7. Participating in Student Government
  8. Art classes from painting to sculpturing
  9. Online lunchtime with friends
  10. Creating school newspapers and yearbooks

Did you know that inference is a crucial reading skill? On both standardized tests and college admission tests, students encounter questions after reading passages that require them to infer something that was expressed by the author but the answer can’t be found specifically in the printed passage. Inference involves using what you know from reading a passage to be able to make a prediction about something you don’t know. For example, look at the following sentence:
Sierra is on her way to Hayden’s birthday party. With no more information, the reader should be able to infer that Sierra is carrying a present.

Look what can be inferred from reading the following passage:
Mom packed our swimsuits, towels, pajamas and tooth brushes. Dad put the bag and picnic basket in the car.
Although it is not said, it can be inferred that a family is going on a trip, and it involves going swimming, eating a picnic and staying overnight.

From first grade on, inference is the skill that makes reading comprehension possible. When parents are reading with their children, ask a lot of questions to give children practice in using inference.

Your children can get additional practice using this skill by reading our 30 new Two Word Inference Tales on the website.

The findings are now in. It is children in grades K-2 who are suffering the greatest learning loss due to interruptions in their education. Many children in these grades are academically working several months behind where they should be. Online learning just does not work for kindergarteners. They simply can not stay focused on their on-screen lessons. As a result, many parents have stopped their kindergarten children from doing schoolwork online. Since kindergarten is not required in most states, many parents will simply enroll the children in first grade next year. Others will redshirt their children and have them start kindergarten next year.

It is also very challenging for first and second grade students to learn online. When everyone returns to school, the curriculum is going to have to majorly be adjusted so that students are able to make up the learning gap.

All students are facing challenging times during COVID-19; however, many students in special education are facing additional difficulties. Often these students are having to cancel specialized medical appointments due to concerns about being exposed to the virus. Needed visits to physical therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and family physicians may no longer be possible.

Schools are having difficulties meeting the needs of their general education students during COVID-19. Time is taken away from academics for those attending school arranging for social distancing, wearing masks, hand sanitization and even daily temperature checks! Then bring back in the special education students who have sensory and anxiety issues and won’t keep a mask on, fear people in masks, and are not receiving the specialized help that they are entitled to by law.

Online school is even more challenging for special education students. These students have great difficulty staying focused on tasks because of their attention and hyperactivity issues. Still schools are tying to reach their special education population by having their special education teachers work with them.

Many children are still going to school online. And professionals are always saying that children definitely need to take a brain break away from the computer screen. So many of the math activities are just worksheets. Children will never truly handle basic math skills unless they know the concepts behind them. They learn math concepts best through hands-on activities that let them handle concrete materials like blocks, beans, coins, rulers, dice, cards and so on.

If you want your children to have fun with math, learn concepts and reinforce or acquire skills, look at our two sets of activities (PreK – 2 and 3 -5) that will:

1. Prove learning math can be fun with many games.

2. Challenge children to use their imagination and creativity.

3. Use only objects comonly found in the home.

4. Guide parents and children step-by-step through every activity.

5. Encourage parents and children to work together.