CLEVELAND — A year of virtual schooling and the pandemic have caused many students to fall behind. But identifying the problem now and getting help for your child can go a long way. 

What You Need To Know

  • Caren Beckett has made a career in helping children catch up through Sylvan Learning

  • Beckett said your child's demeanor and struggles with homework can indicate that they are falling behind in school

  • Sylvan Learning also recommends reading 20 minutes a day can help children catch up

Caren Beckett organizes what she calls the motivation station.

“While students are here, they earn tokens for their hard work and with those tokens they’re able to purchase things in our motivation station that we have,” said Beckett. 

The Sylvan Learning franchise is hard at work inside her Columbus center.

“Graduating in education, obviously out love, is to help to change children’s lives. And as I started as a teacher and then as a director with Sylvan, I felt like I could really see the impact that we could make.”

The Bowling Green State University graduate opened a Sylvan Learning Center with her husband about 20 years ago, and they have made a career of helping students catch up. But the need has risen to a whole new level over the past year.

“We, every year, talk about the summer slide and how students lose twp to three months of learning during the summer. Well, this year, we have a new term of COVID slide and so the challenge of schools and teachers having to do distancing learning or hybrid learning, many parents we encountered are have decided to do some home schooling.”

Beckett meets with mother of two Rachel Mills. She's now homeschooling her kids, and said virtual learning has its challenges.

“I know my freshman especially, it hit her hard because it was her first year of high school and she wanted to be in high school doing all the things that high school students do. And we were afraid she was falling behind, so after our younger daughter was already doing tutoring here, we had her assessed just to make sure that she was where she needed to be. And she subsequently taking some tutoring just to make sure that she’s on target,” said Mills. 

Beckett said there are ways to know if your child is falling behind. Obvious signs can be things like struggling with school work, but also noticing their demeanor can be a signal.

“Reading your child and making sure you’re watching how their feeling, but many parents know, they know when that homework comes home and my child cannot read — what that’s supposed to be or do that math problem on their own — you know, homework should be more of an independent type thing. And when that’s a struggle, they can start to see that, and then maybe take that to that next step,” said Beckett. 

But Beckett believes getting kids caught up is doable if parents and schools make the right adjustments.

“We all have high hopes in the summer of the things we’re going to do at home. Everyone’s going to read 20 minutes a day. Everyone’s going to do the math flashcards. And most of us realize that the reality is that’s not going to happen. So to have a set program for a child, especially during the summer where the school has stopped and paused for now, the amount of catchup that can happen over the next several months may not get them exactly back to where they need to be, but it will get them so much closer.”

Although the pandemic is causing a setback in learning, one educator and parents are working to overcome together.