Where do you really need to catch up?

No doubt the pandemic had a lot of negative impact on education, and it remains the most hotly debated topic to date. Summer catch-up being discussed at the school gates and in the news. On one hand, there is a need to continue the learning, get through the exams, and carry on as normal as possible. On the other hand, there is a real mental health crisis amongst the children, the parents, and the teachers, trying to hold it all together. So, how do we find the balance?

The time spent at home away from friends and wider society is really taking its toll. Now that the end seems to be on the horizon in many places, there is optimism in the air, but also everyone seems to be offering solutions as to how to mitigate the effects of lockdown. Huge budgets are being allocated to various proposals, but it still feels like some abstract concept to parents and children and their daily life. If anything, it adds to further uncertainty, and threatens our dreams of actually getting a proper break in summer.

Whatever the politicians decide, it is still down to each individual family to come up with their own recovery plan out of this pandemic. Individual circumstances and priorities of course need to be accounted for, but let's not forget the good old saying that you cannot pour from an empty cup. If the pandemic has taught us anything, is that health is number one priority, and technology gives us unprecedented access to a world of learning. If we take a step back and look at the bigger picture, what will be important in one, two, five years’ time? It is good to create a few scenarios. How will a loss of academic learning vs a loss of confidence or gaining anxiety affect a child? What can we do to adjust the situation?

Another key thing to remember is to follow your gut feeling about what your child and family need, and not succumb to pressures of others. Is your neighbour hiring a dozen of tutors over the holidays to make up for lost learning? Is another parent sending the children to their grandparents and extended family for the summer? Is your child’s classmate spends all his free time on the playground and nearby park with friends doing “nothing’? All of these options are great, but they are not for all of us. So here is our take on how to get back to normality after a Covid year:

  • Identify the issues. Important exams coming up? Changing schools? Haven’t progressed in maths? Does it matter at this point?

  • Find your priorities. 11+ exams that cannot be postponed. Tensions in the family are not easing and you are losing sleep. House move is happening.

  • Assess your circumstances. Can you stretch the family budget on tutoring? When do you take holidays? What are the logistics for the camps?

It is a fine balancing act that parents and children are expected to deal with it on top of their usual challenges and the pandemic uncertainty. Stay open minded, follow your own path and don't forget to look at the bigger picture- solutions often come up when you least expect them. One thing that you can start doing immediately is go outside, restore friendships and mix with others (within the law of course).