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Family-to-Family Conversations May 4, 2021

Each month, families from the Maryland and Pennsylvania advisory councils provide tips and strategies on questions submitted by families across the two states. Their response to this month’s question is  below:

QUESTION 1: How do we make up a whole year of missed school?

ANSWER:

The 2020-2021 school year was a global opportunity for parents to rethink education and how their children fit into the education system. I no longer think of my sons in terms of grade-level. I now think of my boys through a strengths-based lens: they are individuals with interests, learning styles, opinions, and cultural backgrounds that enhance any class that they attend. My job as a parent is to recognize my child’s areas of strength and determine how I can modify his education to fit his interests.

 

To learn more about my child, I like to take an annual Interest Inventory or a questionnaire to understand my child’s interests, likes, and dislikes. I use this sample for my elementary aged sons. Here is another Interest Inventory for older children. I complete the questions with my child without any pressure.

The next step is to go to the local library. Aside from the community events and informational webinars, librarians complete hours of training to stay up to date on the latest technology, media, and educational resources for our children. Librarians have helped me find so much information. The best part is if a librarian doesn’t know the answer, they will search for the best solution. In addition, libraries provide free resources like STEM kits, maker spaces, and educational materials for all students in multiple languages. Ask the librarian about available resources to engage your child using their strengths. Once you know the area where your child will need support, librarians can help you find fun, innovative resources.

Kayla Solinsky is a parent advocate in Carroll County. She is an education leader, nonprofit executive, and the mother of two boys.

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