The reports are out in every news outlet and your worries that your child has suffered a learning loss during the pandemic are confirmed.
- Some reports are more “glowing” than others, but MAP tests in the United States reveal that kids are officially behind by 5-10 percentile points in math (which can be several months), and depending on the groups and scores being reported, reading loss is not far behind. Plus, there are huge achievement gaps between various groups of kids.
- College enrollments declined during the pandemic by up to 19%, with the highest percentage at the community college level, EdSurge reports
- The Department of Education in the U.S. is so concerned about COVID learning loss, that they cancelled the regular nationwide assessments that were scheduled to take place in January of 2021 and postponed them until 2022.
“Glowing” Reports of Smaller COVID Learning Loss are Not Really All that Glowing. National Test Scores Pre-COVID Were Not So Good Either.
As a parent, you want to be careful about confusing reports that don’t make the COVID learning loss appear all that bad at this particular moment and here’s why.
National test scores before COVID weren’t very good to begin with, which means the pandemic only made things worse.
Did you know that before the pandemic the Nation’s Report Card (NAEP) revealed that nearly 66% of students in grades 4- 12 did not perform at grade level in reading or math?
Those statistics are staggering and overall, have not changed since the 1990s. In many ways, not resolving the problem by now is nothing short of a huge disservice to your kids.
So, the biggest question of all is this:
What can you do about COVID learning loss so that your child can catch up and even get ahead?
Here are the 3 Best Ways to Eliminate COVID Learning Loss So Your Child Can Catch Up and Even Get Ahead in School
1. Teach Your Child ‘How to Learn’ Because It is the Master Skill Above All Others
Knowing ‘how to learn’ is the single most important skill your child needs to succeed in school, the workplace and in life.
How to Learn is the master key to unlock every other skill.
When your child knows ‘how to learn’ they have a system in place so they know they can learn anything confidently. The ‘how to learn’ blueprint allows them to be sure, in advance, that they will be successful.
Brain studies reveal that there are strategies anyone can model to learn any subject because those strategies make neural connections in the brain. These connections between the neurons create the learning and the memory.
First: Make sure your child understands that learning is not about being smart – it’s all about strategy. This empowers your child to always discover which strategy works best for any learning in any subject.
Next: Model success! You want to find a person who is successfully learning what your child wants to learn and ask them what they do to learn and recall the information.
And don’t accept answers like “I study all night” – because this is not a valid learning strategy that works for long-term memory.
What you’re looking for are things like how they study and how they recall what they’ve learned. Do they take notes by hand or use mind map pictures (which is far better than taking notes on a computer because more brain surface is involved, and your child will remember what they wrote better).
Ask questions such as: do you study in chunks, or shorter sessions? Do you convert information you read into pictures or movies so it’s easier to remember?
Once you discover the other person’s actual strategies, you need to train your child to repeat and strengthen them, just like sports training or learning to play a musical instrument.
Learning does not have to be hard or complicated for any subject, as long as you have the overall skill that is the master key to unlocking all the other skills – ‘how to learn’.
Remember: Schools Tell Kids What to Learn, But Not How to Learn It
As a learning expert with over 30 years’ experience at every grade level, with adults, corporations and even medical school students, what I know is that schools only tell kids what to learn, but fail to show them ‘how to learn’ it.
This means there is a gap to fill and kids need a success blueprint to follow so their learning is not hit and miss. So consider having them an online course about how to learn such as the Total Recall Learning™: How to Learn Anything 100% Faster 10 day online course.
My research with pre- and post-test grades from over half a million kids shows that once you show a child ‘how to learn’ their grades in every subject go up.
How Do I Teach My Child ‘How to Learn’?
Think of connections like this: when happy couples hear their wedding song, what is their typical response?
My brother and his wife (who have been married for over 30 years) get up and dance when they hear their wedding song!
It’s the same response every time. They’ve connected their wedding song to a previous time in their lives when they were extremely happy. It always makes them smile and that memory is permanently etched in their brains.
The same is true in learning; your brain cells connect one thing with another which makes memory a snap.
When learning something new, connect it up with something you already know. Here’s how to show your child how to make connections in their brain, so that new information goes into their long term memory.
Here is The Secret to Creating Connections in Your Brain so Information Sticks
When you have the new information you want to learn you ask one simple question.
The question is: What does this remind me of?
You make your answer as funny, colorful and as silly as you possibly can because your brain loves to remember unique and interesting things.
For example, if you want to learn about history, take the event you’re learning about, ask yourself what it reminds you of that you’re already familiar with, make a mental movie about it and voila – during a test you can recall that mental movie.
Your mental movie is connected to something that is already in your long-term memory.
If you want your child to remember a list of things in order, for example, have them use the body PEG system.
Make a grocery list for practice. Have them start at their head, pegging the list in a silly way on to their body.
Your child now has a brain proven memory system for ‘how to learn’ and remember, and they are connecting the new information with something they already know about – their own body. And memory champions use this technique all the time.
Then when you’re at the store, start at the top of your head and have your child recall the list easily because they can see the items “pegged” to their body.
Notice the list – chicken, carrots, tomatoes, oranges, bread,eggplant. See how silly and fun the picture is – this is precisely how your brain works best. Make your connections and pegs fun and you’ll quickly remember them!
Try this yourself with your own grocery list – isn’t it fun?
In my Total Recall Learning™ course, I show your child all the brain-friendly memory techniques, plus the faster reading strategies they need to read faster and remember everything they’ve just read.
2. Preserve Your Child’s Mental Health and Self-Confidence About Their Abilities to Catch Up
Reassure your child about learning and tell them it’s not their fault that they may have lost some ground – all their friends did too.
Give them hope and let them know that every student will need to learn some new faster learning strategies to catch up.
Helping them maintain a healthy lifestyle is extremely important in keeping them in good mental health and in the prime position for learning success.
Getting regular exercise, good quality sleep, and eating nutrient-rich balanced diets every day aren’t simply “healthy” lifestyle choices, they’re brain-friendly ones too.
Regularly making these choices in you and your child’s daily life, is a science-proven way of helping cope with feelings of anxiety, depression, stress, and more.
They also keep your child’s brain in the optimum state for learning, by promoting greater focus, motivation, and memory.
Pair a healthy lifestyle, with the ‘how to learn’ strategies I mentioned earlier, and you ensure that your child has access to a formula that gives them the ability to succeed as they learn any new information.
Given that remote and hybrid learning becamse a new reality for kids, these skills are essential to help your child feel confident in their ability to adjust to learning at every stage of their life.
I offer many more science-backed tips and strategies about ‘how to learn’ and lifestyle choices to help your child overcome and learning struggles and make up for any type of learning loss in Total Recall Learning™.
3. Empower Your Child and Help Them Personalize Their Learning by Showing Them How They Learn Best So They Can Study in the Most Effective Ways
Have your child and your whole family take the free learning styles quiz at HowtoLearn.com and review the traits of your child’s learning style.
This way, your child knows how they prefer to learn and everyone in the family understands that each person has their own unique way of learning.
To get your started, here are the traits of each of three primary learning styles:
Wrapping it up, COVID learning loss is easily remedied once your child knows how to learn, and understands that you have confidence in their abilities. Show kids ‘how to learn’ and you’ve just given them a lifetime of learning success.
In just a very short time, you’ve equipped them to not only catch up but to get ahead in school.
Which tip will you put to use first? If you have any questions about helping your child overcome COVID learning loss, just email me at fasterlearning (at) gmail.com and I’m happy to reply!
Pat Wyman is the CEO of HowtoLearn.com and an internationally noted brain coach known as America’s Most Trusted Learning Expert.
Pat’s superpower is helping people learn, read and remember everything faster. She has helped over half a million people in schools and corporations such as Microsoft, Intel and Google improve their lives with her learning strategies, learning styles inventory and courses, such as Total Recall Learning™.
She is the best-selling author of more than 15 books, a university instructor, mom and golden retriever lover!