Are you as happy as I am that summer is almost here? My kids aren’t the only ones grousing, “Is it summer break yet?” If you’re anything like our family, we’re still trying to navigate learning at home while battling the effects of cabin fever. I can’t help but wonder if I did enough to create some sort of consistent and effective classroom experience while also strategically trying to make summer plans that adhere to CDC guidelines that change on a daily basis. Life is more complicated than ever.
I also want to ensure that our kids don’t become victims of the “summer slide.” According to the Hechinger Report, a national nonprofit newsroom that reports solely on education, it is expected that students may retain less than 50 percent of the school year learning gains. This year, it is more important than ever since most students will not have set foot in a classroom for six months by the time schools open again in the fall. Ultimately, this could put students almost a year behind in subjects like math by the time school is back in session. There are also many students in our area who do not have the resources at home that they have in the classroom. Summertime can exaggerate that challenge. Lack of at-home computers or internet service could make learning impossible in an at-home environment, but most homes do have a television.
With summer in sight, WEDU is still here for you and addressing the “summer slide” by providing a “summer boost” for students! WEDU PBS At-Home Learning, which launched March 23 in response to school closures, is not taking a summer vacation.
Visit www.WEDU.org/EdConnect to find WEDU’s weekday television schedule of educational programs which are aligned to state standards. These programs are broken into blocks serving grades PK-3, 4-8, and 9-12 so you can tune in during a block tailored to your student’s grade level. For example, programs highlighting math skills for your third-grader are on at 7:30 a.m. with “Cyberchase,” and your eighth-grader can explore history at 9 a.m. with “History Detectives.” Beyond the dedicated on-air broadcast, WEDU is also providing free online services that highlight specific lessons, articles and other PreK-12 subjects on a rotating basis so you can take WEDU along wherever your summer vacation or staycation takes you.
Of course, if I thought teaching our kids at home was tough, forcing educational moments during summer vacation could mean outright war with our kids. But thankfully summer learning doesn’t have to be as structured, or as daunting, as the regular at-home school year. That’s because WEDU At-Home Learning is full of play-based and exploratory learning experiences that are a perfect fit for our summer vacation state of mind.
Despite all the challenges we’ve faced this school year, I do have to admit that one silver lining to at-home learning is that this #OldSchoolDad is getting more efficient at using today’s technology.
Originally published in Tampa Bay Parenting’s June Issue.