How to Keep Your Child on Track During the Crisis
As of March 18, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy closed all New Jersey schools – public and private – for two weeks. However, many schools had already shut down before this March 18 announcement, and at this point, there is no way of knowing if schools will, in fact, reopen on April 1st at all.
As a result, many parents are feeling anxious over how this will impact their child’s education. After all, entire weeks or months away from the classroom can negatively impact any student’s academic journey.
That’s why our teachers at MEK Review are sharing 5 ways you can keep your child on track and focused, even during this crisis.
1. Learning doesn’t have to stop.
It may be tempting to use this time as an extended Spring Break or an unplanned staycation. But it’s crucial for children to continue learning, despite their interrupted school schedule.
Students’ minds are constantly and rapidly growing. It’s key that parents continue to encourage their education. Keeping them stimulated and challenged will not only improve their academic skills, but also prevent the inevitable (and likely, significant) boredom from sitting around at home for so long.
Many schools are offering remote or electronic learning programs, but not all are. And the truth is, many of these online options consist of little more than uploading daily assignments for students to complete, rather than giving an option of direct engagement with their teacher and peers through discussion boards or video chat.
So it’s important to seek out as many opportunities as possible for students to learn. There are obviously plenty of online resources that you can use to boost your child’s academic skills in different areas. However, try to smartly find options that are more interactive and allow for your child to actively, rather than passively, participate in their education.
For instance, MEK Review is currently offering our MEK Learning Circles program online – a one-on-one virtual setting that allows students to master core academic skills in Reading, Writing, and Math. We also offer virtual School Support Tutoring to help students thrive in the classroom as well as virtual group College Test Prep classes to prepare high-schoolers for college admission tests such as SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject.
All of our classes now allow students to virtually meet with teachers and to directly communicate and work together — all for a more engaging and effective educational experience.
2. Create and maintain a routine.
Right now, children’s daily routines have been significantly disrupted. Rather than spending time outside exercising, playing sports, or socializing at school, they are mostly confined to staying at home and staring at their screens for hours upon hours.
And, instead of following a typical school day, students likely don’t have a fixed schedule anymore. As a result, it will be easier for them to give into surrounding temptations and distractions.
If you, as a parent, are now also working from home, then the household schedule overall has experienced a complete change.
This lack of routine can negatively affect your child’s academic performance. Without a proper framework for each day, they will lose or diminish the right mindset needed to learn new information and practice new skills.
It is important for parents early on to establish a set routine for their child. Providing students with a home environment that supports studying will allow them to learn more, stay on track with their education, and feel happier.
Plus, it will make the transition back to school much easier!
3. Stay active.
Right now, students at home are sedentary and probably feeling restless. They have no gym class, no recess, no sports, and are mostly staying indoors.
Such inactivity not only impacts their fitness and health, but also impacts their academic performance and drive. Sitting around a computer for 8 hours a day will make them feel lethargic, lower focus, and even make them grumpy.
So it’s important to try and keep students as active as possible during this time of isolation!
Here are a few quick tips:
If you have a stand-up desk, let your child use it while learning remotely. Or try to move your computer to a higher counter, so your child can alternate between sitting and standing.
Take Frequent Breaks
Set a timer, and let your child take breaks from their computer or other devices once an hour. They can take a quick walk around the house, do some stretches, or walk up and down the stairs a few times. Regular breaks will increase their motivation and focus. This way, they will have more energy – not less – at the end of the day.
Work Out as Part of Your Routine
Try free online workout resources and make it part of your child’s daily routine. You can find free workouts on YouTube, and you can even have the whole family join in the fun!
Go for Walks
While the CDC is recommending social distancing, it doesn’t mean you have to completely eliminate the outdoors. You and your child can still take a walk around the block or at the local park. Just remember to wash your hands before and after (for at least 20 seconds!) and keep a recommended 6 feet away from other people.
4. Improve specific academic areas.
Don’t just survive the coronavirus. Let your child find new ways to thrive, by using the disruption in their usual routine to their advantage!
As students experience fewer demands from extracurricular activities, social events, and daily school schedules, you can use this time to discover your child’s core strengths and weaknesses in the classroom, and help them improve in key areas.
MEK Review is still offering the following resources to help you discover your child’s academic standing and plan their next steps.
- Consultations with our academic counselors are available via phone or email inquiry. You can call 855-346-1410 or contact us to set up a phone meeting and get expert advice on your child’s academic strengths, needs, and next steps.
- Free Evaluations are still available through the end of March 2020. Sign up here for 3rd-7th graders and/or sign up here for free SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject practice tests. Our staff will email you the test, along with instructions on how to complete it. Once submitted, we’ll send you a detailed score report and our personalized recommendation for your child.
- One-on-One School Support Tutoring to help your child master specific school subjects and rise to the top of their class. Virtual option now available.
5. Plan for college.
This last one is for parents of older students, especially those in their junior year.
Don’t let the coronavirus derail their track towards college! Instead, use this time to your advantage by sitting down with your child and creating an in-depth plan to prepare for the next stage of their education.
This is a great time for your child to research prospective universities online, look at their application requirements, and map out their plan to admission.
Of course, campus visits are out of the question, but most college websites offer virtual tours. They may also host online information sessions and Q/A forums. You can also always get in contact with representatives and admissions officers of the university via phone or email.
And again, our academic counselors are happy to assist with planning out concrete steps. Contact us today to set up an initial meeting.
The Big Takeaway
Although this period of crisis may feature a complete lifestyle shift, try to think of it as an opportunity for adjustment and adaptation rather than an insurmountable disruption.
Remember that we will all get through this together.
By following our advice above, your child can make the most of their time at home and be ready to return to school more knowledgeable and enthusiastic than ever. Take advantage of all the resources you have!
After all, the coronavirus will pass, but your child’s education lasts a lifetime.