Covid Slide and Rising Freshmen

I was as guilty as anyone when it came to throwing in the towel when E-Learning proved a challenge for my kids. The inconsistent schedule, my sympathy for the teachers scrambling to put together lessons while managing their own young children at home, and the general anxiety and uncertainty about our collective future with Covid-19 left me feeling like missing out on some Algebra wasn’t the worst thing in the world.  

But the data is leaving me feel increasingly less relaxed. According to Education Week and a study by the Northwest Evaluation Association, students returning to school might have retained only about 70 percent of their reading progress, compared to a normal year. And math looks worse, with some students projected to lose anywhere from half to all their academic growth from the last year. 

Now, much to my children’s dismay – I have twins rising high school freshmen -- I’m doing a 180 from my “go-play-video-games-while-I-watch-Netflix" attitude, to utilizing these summer months to catch up and get them ready for high school.  

There are a plethora of resources for students. A few that I like for middle and high school students include: 

  • IXL, which offers Summer Spotlight skill plans to keep kids engaged over the break. The handpicked skills help them review material they've learned this year and get their feet wet with topics from the next year. 
  • Educurious, which offers project-based curriculum, connecting students to the world through a global network of subject matter experts 
  • The House Tutoring Lounge offers individualized private tutoring for students in all subjects. For teens who want more support this summer, one-on-one tutoring is an effective option.  

As a former teacher, tutor, and a parent of three different learners, I also recognize the value of a private tutor who can assess where my teens left off in March and what they need to learn this summer to start high school on strong footing.  

My current assessment: my daughter would benefit from learning to manage her time more efficiently and strengthen her executive functioning skills; my son will be working with a tutor to fill in any gaps he might’ve missed in math so that he has a strong foundation for Geometry in the fall, and he’ll hone his writing skills 

But shhh... I haven’t sprung this on them yet and am giving them one more week of pure summer freedom, lest they begin to think I’ve been body snatched by a “cool mom” 

Stay well, 

Susan Pasternak is the Academic Director at The House Tutoring Lounge in Glencoe. To learn more about how The House can provide customized academic support for teens, call Susan at 847-416-3616 or email her at   

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