Helping Kids to Keep Up On Academic Excellence at Home

The COVID-19 pandemic has truly impacted our lives for the past two years.  As a result, unfortunately, some students are experiencing learning loss, lack of academic rigor, and lagging study skills.  It has been an ongoing challenge to keep children learning, engaged, and screen-free.  Parents have navigated all of this with much patience, prayer, and concerted efforts.

There is a brim of hope as we embark on the next chapter.  Schools are equipped with committed and dedicated teachers willing and able to support our students in the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools.  Just recently, I observed several elementary teachers at St. Philip the Apostle School in Camp Springs, MD raising the bar of excellence to close learning gaps with fun hands-on mathematics activities and games.  Fifth graders were using dice to practice long division, third graders created fact triangles to solidify multiplication facts, and first graders were reviewing shapes with rubber bands and geo-boards.  The teachers’ creativity and enthusiasm is apparent in their instruction and implementation, it was a delight to see them in action!

As parents, we are our child’s first educator, it is imperative to keep abreast of the academic goals addressed in the classroom.  I have a few helpful tips that I follow as both an educator and parent to two school-aged children.  Keep in mind learning takes place daily, in varying settings, and methodologies. You can do your part at home to reinforce the family-school partnership. To help prepare your children for school readiness, to stay on track, and expand their learning opportunities:

1.) Set up a daily family routine, including healthy eating and sleeping habits

2.) Provide a place and time at home for homework

3.) Check on assignments, homework and projects

4.) Talk each day with your child about his/her activities

5.) Promote literacy by reading to your child and by reading yourself

6.) Limit and monitor TV watching, gaming, social media and computer time

7.) Express high expectations and standards for your child’s learning

8.) Attend parent-teacher conferences, Open House, and Back-To-School events

9.) Participate in decisions that affect your child’s education

10.) Tap into community resources with visits to a library, museum, zoo or theater. Encourage participation in after-school clubs, sports, and art activities.

Engaged parents are a key factor in helping students and schools succeed.  When schools and families work together as partners, student achievement is enhanced, and children are better prepared to do well in school.

I pray that this Lenten season fills you with hope, mindfulness, renewal, and to keep striving for excellence.


Andrea Grimes is a Lead Technology/Curriculum Coach with the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools. She is a parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Largo, MD, the mother of two school-aged sons, and a life-long learner with a passion for STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Education.