Monthly Archives: January 2022

Parent Perspective: Reentry and Learning Loss

Alana Bremers, parent and ResearchILD Intern, shares her thoughts about school reentry and learning loss after homeschooling her children during the pandemic.

“Between not being able to access specific standards and curriculum from my local district and the uncertainty of this pandemic year, I have no way of knowing how my kid will fit into school next year. 

If I can believe the recent assessments that my daughter took from a free, online program that claims to track specific state standards, she will be a full year ahead in math and two to three years ahead in literacy. She is even passing science tests.

With hesitation, I feel great about this year of homeschooling my children. We appear to be managing a large amount of quality learning in a fraction of the time. While I was initially scared about failing my kids, I’ve instead reinforced bonds between my children and myself. I’m even lamenting our return to in-person schooling next year.

As I consider our school plans for next year, there are a few things I am keeping in mind. No matter what happens, I will continue to leverage free public curricula. These programs can be used to guide homeschool programs, and they also allow parents to be a productive part of any student’s learning experience. If parents can easily access information about where their children stand academically, we can be stronger advocates for high-quality education and more immediately recognize when our children fall behind.

I also think that parents need as much access to data as possible. Is the school providing professional development training opportunities and attracting quality teachers? If I leave a district and enter a new one, is there something I can do to prepare my kids to seamlessly transfer?

So many news stories discuss kids struggling in hybrid or remote learning; however, parents and schools need to learn from what worked this year if students are going to successfully re-engage with learning. One recent news story even reported students with ADHD are thriving in less distracting online learning environments.

How can we continue to apply the positive lessons we’ve learned over the past two years with hybrid and homeschool learning models? Teachers and parents should continue to make expectations, goals, and realities all easily accessible, public information.”

  • Alana Bremers, ResearchILD Intern

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development:

Parent Perspective: Learning to Homeschool

Alana Bremers, parent and ResearchILD Intern, explains how she learned to homeschool during the pandemic.

“While deciding to homeschool my kids wasn’t easy, once I made the decision, I took it very seriously. I wanted to make sure that I developed a plan that would support my new teaching responsibilities, both academically and socially.

The social dimension of homeschooling has been great as I’m able to teach both of my kids together. We can play games, read to each other, and spend time using online learning programs.

We also have more flexibility in our daily schedule, so I’m able to make sure we have time for swim lessons, socially distanced play dates, or general fun. We have two sports days a week and family time on weekends. Homeschool counts time reading and playing games as education, and we can even count play as physical education. As a mom, I felt confident in my ability to keep my kids engaged with their friends and enjoying life.

Structuring their academic lives was a bit more challenging. However, as a teacher candidate, I felt like I could do the research and get this done. I had an interesting experience trying to untangle the local standards for education. After a few frustrating hours, I gave up, instead focusing on the standards of New York because their curriculum is available online, for free, with interactive learning assistance. New York state is very open about exactly what kids are expected to learn.

Connecting with other homeschool parents has been invaluable. I have found tremendous support from the general homeschool community and administrators of various curriculum products I use.”

  • Alana Bremers, ResearchILD Intern

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development:

Parent Perspective: I Wish Teachers Knew That Executive Function Isn’t Just Planning

In seventh grade, my daughter’s teacher gave everyone in the class a big paper planner calendar. Voilà, executive function problem solved.

Except, for my dyslexic daughter, it wasn’t. Luckily my daughter’s tutor suggested using a digital planner with voice recognition. This simple but essential change allowed my daughter to use her excellent planning skills without having to write quickly and neatly in tiny paper planner boxes.

I know that many students truly struggle with planning. But, without the right instruction and tools, many students will be labeled poor planners. Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t, but please don’t assume that “all students are…” simply because you have a proverbial hammer.

When teachers start using language such as “all students benefit from…” or “every student should…,” I know that my child will be excluded from learning and progressing, and sometimes subject to the public humiliation of being called out for being different from “all” the other students.  

Thanks to Research Institute for Learning and Development (ResearchILD), my daughter recently took an executive function assessment (MetaCOG Online) that identified her primary executive function strengths and challenges. The results showed that planning and organizing are strengths for her.

MetaCOG Online also identified what I’ve struggled to explain to tutors and teachers for years—that her biggest executive function struggle is with flexible thinking, which impacts so many aspects of school and learning. When my daughter is struggling with inflexibility, people assume she doesn’t understand some concept, she is disorganized, or something much worse.

Educators have been led to believe that executive function is just planning and organizing. What a shame. It hasn’t just been a waste of time and money for us. Being misunderstood and under-supported has caused my daughter endless frustration and distrust of the educational system overall.  

When my daughter started high school last year, we met with a learning specialist who said, “We focus heavily on planning and organizing to help all freshmen transition into high school….” I know my daughter has a lot of executive dysfunction, but please don’t assume that she’s a nail just because you have a hammer. 

–Parent of LD High School Student

Free MetaCOG Online Webinar

Interested in learning more about MetaCOG Online? Join us for our free MetaCOG Online webinar on January 13, 2022.

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development: