As school is now underway virtually throughout the country, fear is high that children will fall behind this year.
And with an abrupt shift to distance learning at the end of the last school year followed by the summer break, Sal Khan, the founder and CEO of the education non-profit Khan Academy says many children likely did lose skills.
“You always have summer learning loss,” Khan told KCBS Radio. “Even with the 5, 6 months we were out of school there’s some data that… implies that if kids weren’t engaged over those 5 to 6 months, not only would they not have learned over those 5 to 6 months but a lot of their skills would have atrophied.”
But with many parents scrambling to find tutors and arrange additional learning for their children, Khan says keeping kids on track is simpler than you may expect.
“You can prevent that type of atrophy, that type of loss if the kids are reasonably engaged,” said Khan.
For younger children, that could mean just 20 to 30 minutes a day of practice in each of the core academic areas: math, reading and writing.
Khan says that 20 minutes a day in math practice is sufficient for a young child. Older students may need 30-40 minutes. Reading one thing every day can keep kids on track, and writing assignments can be as simple as keeping a daily journal or one assignment a week to write about a topic that interests them.
Keeping those core skills engaged is a good foundation for the school year, and parents and teachers can add science and humanities studies once that foundation is established.
“The last thing folks need is to make a fear of inadequacy on the educational front add stress,” said Khan. “We’re all in this together.”
In other words: give yourself a break.