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All Together Now


Will my child "fall behind" in COVID schooling?

Will my child lose academic learning this year? Yes.

Is this a problem? Probably not.

I hear variations on this question all the time – and I feel this anxiety myself. In a year unlike any other, parents are concerned that, with less face to face, direct instruction, their child will “fall behind”. Those with resources purchase support - pandemic pods, private tutors, babysitters, specialty math, science, engineering programming…

But let’s flip the script. Let’s flip our concerns upside down and gain new perspective.* In the square below is our parenting concern. There is little doubt that our children’s’ learning will be different than in a typical year. Questions 1-3 dig into this question. Below that, I answer them – for my kids. You may agree, disagree and/or have your own flipped questions.

The short answers

1. Likely not – if your family has resources - unless your child is struggling in a specific area.

2. No – high academic performance is NOT what students need for successful adulthood.

3. Yes – even in this crazy time – our new models of education can offer benefit for some but drawbacks for others.

The long answers

1. Likely not - If your child has an identified need in an academic area, you should pay attention. If not, in-school, academic instruction is only one of many types of learning.

  • Direct instruction – face to face or remote – is not the best path to deeper learning. Children learn better through projects which motivate, engage, and encourage intellectual flexibility. Reading is the big exception – we should all read everyday ; )

  • Breaks from school help children deepen and solidify learning. “Doing school” (lots of direct instruction) - every-single-day – sucks the joy our of learning and may actually result in less learning.

  • Traditional metrics of success – SAT scores, accelerated classes, Ivy League colleges – don’t track with ability or intelligence – but instead relate to family income.

COVID take away - It’s OK for kids to have a slower year of learning. Family income provides an invisible protective factor for some. Supplement with Passion Projects to encourage deeper learning and read lots!

Going Deeper: Challenge Success - Did You Know?

2. No - “Being ahead” academically is not what drives success. After all, o in a job our children will work with people of all ages, experience levels and abilities. Being one year ahead – or behind – in math, for example, really isn’t important.

However, “soft skills” - working in groups, clear communication, cooperative problem-solving, interdisciplinary thinking are critical to adult success

COVID take away – Rather than adding on academic work (unless you know your child needs them), focus on soft skills and deeper learning.

Going Deeper: Self-S