It is evident that many students have suffered throughout the COVID pandemic. For the past two years, many students have had to learn in front of screens due to school closures, quarantining and isolation due to illness. Even with the intense efforts of classroom teachers, many of whom quickly developed online lessons, remote-teaching plans, and strategies for meeting students’ basic needs, challenges in learning and student motivation grew. Classroom teachers continue to deal with vast discrepancies in academic skills among their students.
Parents are desperate to find ways to support their child’s learning needs. Tutoring has always been an option for struggling students and can meaningfully increase learning for a wide variety of K-12students. Typically, students are tutored once or twice a week after school orin the evening for an hour. However, this traditional tutoring model is not proving to be effective in reducing the learning deficit caused by remote learning. New research indicates tutoring is more effective when delivered in high doses, three or more sessions per week for 30-60 minutes. Tutoring interventions that are conducted during the school day or immediately after school tend to result in greater learning gains. Students are still in the academic setting and mindset for receiving instruction. Students also benefit from maintaining the same tutor over time. Tutors can effectively instruct up to three students at a time, but instruction becomes less effective in larger settings. One-to-one tutoring is optimum; however, it is the most costly option.
What else can parents do to assist their child beyond tutoring? Parents are the main influence in their child’s learning and should always demonstrate the value of education. COVID-19 has certainly upended family life and parents are seeking ways to support their children’s learning and keeping them engaged while watching for signs of stress and anxiety.
Parents can continue to support their child’s learning in a number of ways:
● Recognize that your child is not the only one - feeling behind is normal and most students feel this way right now
● Identify different calming strategies that help your child manage stress
● Provide leisure time to support your child’s mental health and well-being
● Support the efforts that your child is making in school and out of school - support progress, not perfection
● Remember to recognize effort as much as positive gains
● Have positive conversations surrounding the school day and school activities
● Stay in communication with your child’s teacher about your child’s progress
● Understand what your child’s teacher expects from your child
● Set learning expectations and review them with your child
● Set gentle and firm limits
● Find a tutor that your child enjoys learning from and trusts
● Meet with the tutor and teacher along with your child - gives child a sense of ownership
● Ask your child to teach you what they learned with their tutor
● Assume everyone is trying their best - this includes your child and their teachers
● Be kind to yourself as a parent and to your child as a student