How To Decide Which School Option Is Best for Your Child
“Back-to-School” in Fall 2020 is not quite what we could have predicted.
Districts are still scurrying to launch their plans while parents are scurrying to choose which options to go with and how to combine work/life/family with the kids being online for an undetermined period of time. (I believe there will be an outbreak if we return in August or September, and we may need to return to online again.) We all want the pandemic to be over, yet it’s far from being over. So here are some tips as you decide which option to choose for your child. Keep in mind these are based on Arizona offerings and not all may apply to your situation.
1) If your child is in pre-school, I see very little value in “online learning.”
Consider that for 3 and 4-year-olds movement, hands-on play, lots of offerings and stimulation, and zero screen time are recommended. Our neuroscience is very clear that playing and moving in a supportive, caring environment is better for brain development than learning the alphabet at this stage. If your child is in preschool, I would recommend not trying to force academics online at this time in their development.
2) If your child has a medical condition that leaves them vulnerable if they contract Covid-19, I might consider planning on them being online all year even if school resumes in person.
We have absolutely no data on what a return to school will mean for transmission rates and as the pandemic progresses, we do know that infected children can get Kawasaki disease and Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). It may be advisable to be medically cautious over being academically aggressive.
3) Remember your choice isn’t forever.
Although it may seem that the epidemic will go on forever, this condition is only transient. If you make a decision, districts might let you adjust it based on the situation. Only at the moment, given the facts and conditions at hand, can decisions be taken. Your decision may change as circumstances alter. There are other possibilities for homeschooling, charter schools, and private schools if your district isn’t accommodating.
4) Consider your child’s need for socialization and structure when considering synchronized learning vs. self-paced options.
Synchronized learning includes teachers teaching at set times with many students tuned in and possibly engaging with each other. Self-paced online learning can feel isolative to extroverted children and may not be structured enough for your child to be successful. If your child prefers to self-pace and can create their own structure or you can assist with that, self-paced online learning may be a better option. I know some children with home-school backgrounds who can excel grade levels beyond their grade in just a few hours per day. I know others who need constant supervision and 1:1 assistance just to keep pace. Pay attention to your child’s unique needs and balance that with what you can offer given your family situation and work situation.
5) Beyond all, remember we are all in this together.
Many of our children may “fall behind” and need summer school, enrichment, or even to take another year before college. Or schools may adjust their guidelines to accommodate the Covid-19 year(s). At any rate, know that if you can stay flexible, healthy, and calm during this time, it’s going to pass and with a lot less suffering for you and your family.
Good luck! And know we are here to help if you need us.
– Dr. Serin
If you are located in the Metro Phoenix Arizona area, Serin Center has two offices located in Peoria, AZ, and Scottsdale, AZ that can provide testing for Dyscalculia and provide Independent Educational Evaluations. Contact us today to discuss how we can help.
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