Friday, May 14, 2021

How Should Parents Address the Summer Slide?

It’s the first week of March. My sons will wrap up the school year before May ends, so I am already thinking about summer and what they need. In education, talks of summer typically center around the “summer slide,” which is a phrase to describe learning loss that takes place during the summer months. This is of great concern for many parents and educators because of the coronavirus pandemic. Some students are struggling in the remote learning or hybrid learning environment, which is why the summer seems like a perfect opportunity for learning acceleration or an opportunity to close gaps. So, what should parents do?

As much as I am concerned about my sons’ education, I must first acknowledge that we are living through a pandemic.

As much as I am concerned about my sons’ education, I must first acknowledge that we are living through a pandemic. It is a crisis and during a crisis it is okay to not meet normal expectations. It is also okay to try to figure out how to move forward and achieve some academic goals.

I want my sons to learn during the summer, but I also want them to be kids and have some fun. Parents should find one or two areas to address. Typically, I have my sons read during the summer, and they participate in the library reading program. I also plan to have them work on their math skills. This does not have to be worksheet. Having them help me double a recipe is a way to practice these skills or using a program like XtraMath for a short time can help with math facts automaticity.

Some parents may want to send their children to summer school to ensure their children don’t fall prey to the summer slide. What is most important is that children have the chance to be children. It is important to access children’s mental health in addition to worrying about academics.

I truly believe the kids will be alright.

I truly believe the kids will be alright. No, we do not want students to fall so far behind that they can’t get caught up, but we also don’t want to stress out or overwhelm children by consuming their summer with academics. Balance is needed when addressing the summer slide.

This post originally appeared on Indy K-12.

Shawnta S. Barnes
Shawnta is a married mother of identical twin boys.  As an Indiana native, she attended school in two Indianapolis school districts; she attended Indianapolis Public Schools for two years and completed her education in Lawrence Township Schools.  Her sons entered kindergarten during the 2016-2017 school year, so she not only navigates Indianapolis schools from the educator perspective but also the parent perspective.  This is her 14th year as an educator.  Although she has worked in the urban traditional public school setting for the majority of her career, she student taught in rural Indiana, worked in the suburbs, and in public charter schools. Currently, she is the Editor in Chief and writer for Indy K12, a middle school academic dean, and CEO and Co-Founder of Barnes Brothers Books, LLC. Previously, she served as an elementary library/media specialist, an adjunct college professor, an elementary and high school literacy coach, a middle and high school English/Language Arts teacher, and K-5 English as a New Language teacher.  She is also the winner of the 2019 Indiana Black Expo Excellence in Education Journalism Award. In her spare time, she is an urban gardener and writes about her harvest to table journey at www.gardenershicole.com. Her Indy K12 articles can be viewed here. To learn more about Shawnta, visit www.educatorbarnes.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram @educatorbarnes.

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