Throughout the pandemic, the Teachers on Call tutoring team noticed the two subjects children began to fall behind in most were reading and math. It may feel like a formidable challenge to help bring a student back up to speed in these subjects, especially when it means extra hours spent practicing. We believe closing learning gaps doesn’t have to be gruelling or stressful. It can be made part of fun family time spent together—you can multitask to enrich your family activities. Here are 6 resolutions and activities to help your child catch up if they’re falling behind in either math or reading.
Role model reading at home
Our children, of course, tend to model their actions on our behaviours. With the New Year here, it’s a good time to examine our own behaviours and make resolutions based upon them. A great many adults have admitted that the pandemic didn’t encourage them to read, even though they thought it might. So, it might be worthwhile to make a resolution.
If you resolve to read more, make all reading fair game. This includes not only academic books of all subjects, it includes magazines, graphic novels, newspapers, short stories, and even cookbooks. This belief began with Teachers on Call’s founder, Rhona Sallay, who dedicated her teaching career to supporting students with learning challenges in Section 23 programs, and as a Special Education Department Head in the Toronto District School Board. As long as you and your child are enjoying the material, that’s the only goal.
Research fun choices to make new routines at home or nearby
Resolving to make a special reading time can help keep your family on track, but it’ll be easier to keep the resolution to read more if you make it fun! Consider adding family book club at home. You may also want to make a resource of your local library. Not only can you make it a routine to go find new books every week or two, but they also often have activities like family story time and even story walks.
Multitask with educational choices to make the most of family time
Fun and educational can often go hand in hand. We’ve often touted baking and cooking together as a great way to practice math (with yummy payoffs at the end!). But this can apply to everything, both at home and abroad. Even TV time can be used to foster interests and promote learning—try baking competition shows, nature documentaries, and movies and shows that are adaptations from books.
When you’re looking for something to do outside the home, resolve to bring learning, math and reading into it. This is easier to do than you might think! Not only is the library a great resource, so are museums, and even nature walks. Ron Lancaster, professor emeritus in mathematics education at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, introduced our community of tutors and students to math trails. This is a creative way to use nature as a classroom in every season, and get some physical activity in at the same time
Choose some quiet time projects to reinforce reading and math
We get it, everybody needs a little bit of downtime. Resolve to try to make this offline time, and choose some specific kinds of games and activities that will help foster math and reading without your child even thinking about it. Dollar store word searches and sudoku books are a great option. So is jigsaw puzzling!
Make use of other family and network to help
You don’t have to help your child alone; make use of friends and family to help keep these resolutions to practice more reading and math alive. If your child loves baking with grandma, that counts! When your local babysitter comes over, involve them as well to do something educational. Share your goals with your personal network so that they can help.
Get some professional tutoring help for catching up
There’s no shame in getting a little bit of extra, deliberate practice in with professional support. With your assistance, you may find that with the help of a tutor or some specific programs, your child will catch up at a faster rate (and with less stress involved). And if cost is a consideration, don’t forget to apply for the catch-up payments from the Ontario government and check in with your child’s school to see what support is available to them.
We hope our learning resolution ideas are helpful to you and your family. Feel free to share what you would add to our list!
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