School interrupted: Use summer to make up for lost learning with these easy tips. (Jennifer Bardsley)

School interrupted: Use summer to make up for lost learning with these easy tips. (Jennifer Bardsley)

How to fix your student’s ‘spring slide’ this summer

A former teacher offers easy tips for distancing learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teachers dread “summer slide” — all the content kids forget over summer.

When I taught elementary school, I dealt with this often, and could especially see it in the students I had for two grades in a row. I’d sent them off as happy third graders with their brains full of math facts, and they’d come back to me in September for fourth grade having forgotten a big chunk of what I had taught them.

Now we’re not only dealing with a potential summer slide but a spring one as well, depending on what “distance learning” looked like at home these past few months. My children are in the Edmonds School District and we experienced mixed things.

At the elementary level, my daughter’s fifth-grade teacher rose to the challenge in inspiring ways. She sent out detailed learning plans for the link every Sunday night, which included daily activities neatly organized in a Google doc for easy access. She led two Zoom meetings a week with her students, checked in with them via daily emails, and was always available if we had questions.

At one point she drove around town and dropped off goodie bags, likely paid for with her own money, for each student who had completed all their work. Meanwhile, the PE and orchestra teachers also led weekly Zoom meetings, which my daughter looked forward to.

My high schooler, on the other hand, had a much less rigorous experience. The school district told high schoolers that while they could improve their report cards, their grades would not go down. Since my freshman entered the pandemic with an excellent grade point average, he had zero motivation to complete the few assignments he received from his teachers. Honestly, I don’t blame him.

I understand that equity issues factored into how school districts made decisions, but equity issues happened at home, too. My daughter had significant amounts of schoolwork to complete, while my son had oodles of free to climb mountains and bake bread.

So what does this mean for fall? How can parents fill in gaps from spring and also combat the summer slide?

At the elementary level, there are numerous at-home learning options I recommend: Download the Wet-Dry-Try Handwriting Without Tears app for little ones. Buy Bob Books for emerging readers. Look into All About Learning if you worry your kids might having special needs related to reading and spelling. For math facts, I’d suggest the story based teaching curriculums from City Creek Press. Supplement social studies by watching Liberty Kid videos on YouTube. An all-encompassing option would be to sign up your kiddo for a Time4Learning account.

High schoolers, however, are tricky. The whole point of raising teenagers is to teach them to take care of themselves. This is where asking questions becomes important: Can I help you download books from the library? Is there a documentary you’d like to watch on Netflix together? What do you think about what’s happening in the news?

When all else fails, nurture their hobbies. That’s why at my house you’ll find hiking boots and flour on the floor.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal. Email her at teachingmybabytoread@gmail.com.

Talk to us

More in Life

Veteran Keith F. Reyes, 64, gets his monthly pedicure at Nail Flare on Tuesday, Dec. 21, 2021 in Stanwood, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No more gnarly feet: This ‘Wounded Warrior’ gets pedicures

Keith Reyes, 64, visits a Stanwood nail salon for “foot treatments” that help soothe blast injuries.

Eggs Florentine
Baked Eggs Florentine: A brunch favorite inspired by a queen

The kitchen manager at Quil Ceda Creek Casino shares a dish that pays homage to a spinach-crazy 16th century monarch.

Jennifer Bardsley, author of her newest book Good Catch, at her home on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021 in Edmonds, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds author transitions from young adult novels to romance

Jennifer Bardsley’s “Good Catch” is set in an Edmonds-like town. Spoiler alert: There’s a happy ending.

Caption: They might be too old for lunch box notes, but teenagers benefit from TLC too.
Fun ways to show the teens in your life that you care

The teen years can be challenging but they don’t last long. A little bit of extra attention can go a long way.

This easy-to-make spinach and mushroom quiche is perfect for a light dinner or fancy brunch. (Gretchen McKay/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/TNS)
Gretchen’s table: A spinach-mushroom quiche with cheesy goodness

The savory egg custard baked in a pie crust is easy to make — especially if you use a refrigerated crust.

Nissan’s signature V-motion grille dominates the 2022 Pathfinder’s front. Look closely and you’ll see three slots at the top, a tribute to the original 1986 Pathfinder. (Manufacturer photo)
Nissan Pathfinder comes full circle with all-new 2022 version

The three-row mid-size SUV gains modern amenities but returns to the rugged impression of the original.

Jack Rice, left, gives his grandmother Carolyn Rice, a tutorial on her new tablet Saturday afternoon in Edmonds on November 20, 2021.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Need to Ring or Zoom? Edmonds teen comes to the rescue

Jack Rice, 17, started a free service to help seniors connect with tech. “He’s a hero around here.”

Herr Jung leads a group through Bacharach, Germany.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Lessons from a schoolmaster on the Rhine

Herr Jung dedicated his life to sharing Germany’s hard history so others can learn from it.

How to transform past shame into something positive and healthy

Tips on coping with the shame that we carry around in our hearts and on our sleeves.

Header, garden shovel or spade puts into soil, green meadow in the back, low angle shot
Regenerative gardening helps save the planet one garden at a time

Regenerative gardening is founded on the principle that if we take care of our soils then everything else will work out for the best.

She canceled her Iceland trip in time. Where’s her refund?

When Kim Josund cancels her trip to Iceland, she believes she’s entitled to a full refund. Why are her hotel and dive operator refusing?

GPP
Great Plant Pick: Acer tegmentosum “Joe Witt”

This Manchurian snakebark maple boasts beautiful highly striped white bark that brightens the shade garden.