Remember being a restless twenty-something?
Nothing kept you from traveling the world on a moment’s whim — no schedule, no job (that was scary, wasn’t it?), no kids — nothing but best friends’ weddings and single suitcases. As I sat in the airport on a jet-lagged Sunday, I realized not everyone can travel this carefree.
A woman behind me began to wear a hole into her phone, tapping fervently to call her spouse and sons’ teachers.
Here’s some of what I heard in the crammed terminal.
“I’m worried his work has piled up too much since we stayed a few extra days.”
“He told me he has a few questions about the homework, but is worried the rest of the class has already moved on.”
It’s a fact of life: events arise that require you to take off work and/or your student to miss school. Whether it’s a last-minute trip or foreseeable occasion, here are some highly effective pre-emptive measures.
Prioritize their schoolwork with everything else.
Your to-do travel list remains the same: turn off the lights, forward the mail, arrange for the pets, remember to bring the children…
But what about your kids’ housekeeping tasks? Have they arranged a plan with their teachers? It’s important to maintain understanding of broad lesson concepts (math problem sets, reading comprehension exercises). This requires a little more careful planning than making sure they “bring their homework with them”.
Keep in mind that whatever the circumstances the family is taking time off for, there are indefinite limitations. We can best roll with the punches by setting time aside each day to…
Follow a condensed curriculum.
In a perfect world, the student would keep up with the courseload while away, reading the textbook and following the lesson plan as if she were in the classroom anyway.
Arguably, nothing can fully replace teacher instruction; their methods of evaluation and ways to achieve benchmarks are unique to their teaching. But the teacher can tailor a simplified lesson plan that the student can follow so that they’re not completely oblivious upon their return.
Couple this with a streamlined homework plan that fits the students’ travel schedule and needs (giving the added opportunity for the student to develop questions on their own).
Seek quick tutoring while away.
For the majority of students who aren’t homeschooled, seeking help for simple problems can be problematic when on the road. Like the stressed-out airport mother realized, contacting the teacher constantly and too late in the game is unrealstic. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Just imagine: a magical app that connects students to a live tutor, from anywhere in the country, at any time, on any subject, for any specific question!
Follow up a week after returning.
Schedule a quick wrap-up with teachers in troublesome subjects. Is your son/daughter catching up with concepts that they’ve missed? If it’s taking a little longer, it’s much better to shorten the learning curve earlier than later.
Maintaining contact after the trip is crucial to make sure the bases are covered and your student hasn’t fallen behind.