It would be nice if students of all ages could step right back into classroom learning without any issues but this is only the case for a lucky few. In the development of a child, a few months can have a substantial impact and the transition back to traditional learning may include a few speed bumps. Like any other academic issue, there are ways to help students who are struggling with academics or social & emotional development.
Take things one at a time
Like any challenging situation, it’s important to take each issue as it comes, prioritize, and be okay with the fact that not everything will get done all in one day. Kids are still dealing with a lot at school, they are likely feeling overwhelmed and don’t have a frame of reference for how to cope with all of the changes happening in their academic lives. Sit down with the student’s teacher, or email a list of prioritized questions or concerns you have about your student. Ask for 2-3 issues that can be worked on at home as well as a realistic timeline for when you will start to see improvement.
Focus on support
Help is available in nearly every subject from the basics learned in Kindergarten to college applications and test prep. In addition to suggestions from a teacher, kids can work one-on-one with a tutor who can help identify where an individual student starts to get overwhelmed and why. Tutoring sessions may be one of the only times students get one-on-one, individualized attention that supports their specific needs. When students have a plan of action and begin to see progress, their self esteem and attitude towards school usually increases.
Remember opportunities to socialize
Students are so much happier when they have a chance to spend time with friends and their school community in a lightly structured setting. Conversation and effective communication in a group setting is a key component to success. Many kids fall behind in their communication skills and need the chance to catch up and develop these essential skills while they are still at an age that their minds are open and ready to learn. Conversations in a school setting are heavily structured so students need to have an opportunity to develop or regain these skills after school or on the weekends.
Setbacks are okay
Students will have setbacks, even those who thrive in an online learning environment or who have been back in a classroom setting for multiple terms will regress from time to time. This is normal but should be addressed. First, try to identify the specific subject or learning element the student is struggling with. It might be something specific like a math equation or something broader such as organizational skills and concentration. Once the problem is identified, a plan of action can be developed. Remember, support and priorities will help every step of the way.