Do a quick search for quotes about summer and you’ll find a lot of nostalgia. Almost all of them celebrate summer as a carefree time of relaxed responsibility. But even before the pandemic, a traditional summer break from school was out of synch with modern-day life for many families. One of the reasons is the significant learning loss that can occur during those months. “Summer slide” is how people in the education industry describe the loss of learning that some students experience after a long break between spring and fall semesters. It’s been a problem in education for a long time, but like so many things this year, problems that were challenges before the pandemic now have a new sense of urgency. Before March 2020, many of our students were already taking the opportunity to learn year-round without the constraints of traditional school seasons to address learning gaps, recover credits for failed classes, and work ahead with an eye on college admissions. Although many government leaders, education experts, and parents think that extending learning into summer this year is critical to helping students catch up, it’s not quite that simple. Many teachers who have been going above and beyond are understandably exhausted. Also, their pay is calculated based on summer breaks, and most school districts haven’t budgeted for extended learning yet. While that could be changing with COVID relief funding available for summer school programs, some schools lack infrastructure, like air conditioning, to accommodate in-person learning during hot summer months. Many parents are contacting us to find out what their options are for helping their students catch up or get ahead. Below we share a guide that will help you determine your needs and what might be the best fit for your student. Learning Gaps Many students miss out on learning key concepts but have to skip over them to keep up with unit work in class. The problem is that many subjects build on concepts and having gaps can weaken your student’s performance in later grades. How can you address this now and over the summer? Ask your teachers for any recent assessments that might highlight learning gaps before the second semester is over. In case assessments can’t tell the entire story, ask your teachers for their anecdotal observations of key concepts your student might need to go back and learn. If your student has an IEP, ask the student resource team for help with gathering information about particular learning gaps your student has in specific subjects. Private, in-person tutoring is very effective, but can be cost prohibitive for some families. Also, some students may resent the structure of scheduled tutoring appointments, especially during the summer. Flexible online tutoring programs like Tutorials empower students to focus on what they need to learn, not what they already know. Designed to be adaptable to each student, Tutorials are self-directed, and your student can start any time during the year. Credit Recovery If your student has failed a class or is at-risk or failing one this semester, there are ways to recover the credit so your student can graduate on time. Ask your student’s school counselor for help in identifying missing credits. If there are multiple missing credits, get help with prioritizing them based on your student’s long-term goals. Determine if your school district will offer summer learning programs that will provide your student with the chance to re-take a class for credit. If so, will your student have to take the course on certain days and times? If your family wants more flexibility, consider an online course from an accredited virtual school. Over the summer, our award-winning Courses condense semester material into nine weeks making it efficient to recover a credit before fall. Getting Ahead Is your student typically motivated but frustrated by the disruption to their learning caused by the pandemic? Summer has always been a great time to work ahead and taking summer school courses for credit can help with college admissions. Ask your student’s school counselor for input on courses that would help your student achieve their goals after high school. Determine if those select courses will be offered through your school district’s summer school program. If so, will your student have to attend the class on certain days and times? If your student is self-directed and wants more flexibility, consider signing up for courses with an accredited online school. Our comprehensive Course Catalog includes Core, Honors, AP®, and NCAA-approved individual courses to help students get ahead over the summer. Ready to ask your own questions about flexible options for helping your student continue their learning this summer? We’re here to help.