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Don't let education suffer during snow days

February 3, 2014 - Erin O'Neill
Are you as sick of these snow days as I am?

Our area hasn't seen a winter like this in a while. I remember when I was a kid, I lived for days off school to go sledding, drink hot cocoa and sit around in footie pajamas all day.

Unfortunately, the days of throwing caution — and schoolwork — to the wind are over. Every day missed of school is a chance that today's students run the risk of getting behind. This is especially concerning given the new mandates in standardized testing.

Yes, apparently the missed days will be made up in some way, either with days added to the end of the year or minutes added to the end of days. But, for younger children especially, the interruption in the daily routine can really throw them for a loop. As I have discovered, though, there is very little that can be done by the school unless online classrooms become an option. Teachers and administrators all have rules to follow, red tape and politics being what they are.

So parents, this is where you come in. After all, you are your child's first and best teacher. While times are not as carefree as they were 30 years ago, there is a benefit to living in this technological age. Websites, computer programs, apps for tablets and smartphones all can be beneficial in the absence of a classroom. Good old fashioned workbooks and flashcards are still available. Heck, even a pencil and a piece of lined paper can go a long way.

Of course, if you have to work and someone else is in charge of your child, you might not be able to be as hands-on as you'd like. You still have the ability to call the shots. Make a "lesson" plan the night before. Something simple that can be worked on for an hour or so. Even if it's just reading out loud or practicing math facts or handwriting skills.

There is plenty of time in a snow day to have fun and drink cocoa but there is nothing more important than your child's education. Make a plan, take the time and make the most of these days off.


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