We think that education is a race to be won. If you believe that your child will lose. There is a right pace for your child. Faster is not better. Appropriate is better.
Looking at the plants above, a slow developing seed will have a hard time when winter comes. A sickly antelope will be in increased danger being 'behind' maturing. But a student losing teaching time has not lost the race--and may actually end up ahead. A disruption does not mean losing any race.
National media outlets are blasting the news that this is generation will forever be behind because of the COVID disruption. A great, valid survey does show the retension loss from the school closures and online study access. So, the headline is the Lost Generation, who will never 'catch up', will never have the teaching to get a good job, etc. "Catch up?" "Behind?"
Yes, behind for reaching the benchmarks of a huge education system that (rightly) has benchmarks and standards--but the timeliness is actually a man-made construct. Kids 'falling behind' will be a huge inconvenience--but the kids are not doomed or losing any race. Kids at so many different levels are a nightmare in a standardized education system but parents should not look at it as a race.
Beside the fallacy that in a year off, K-12 don't learn anything or don't advance in other ways, tht negativity is misplaced: taking education slowly can be a huge asset for the child.
For the under ten's, European students start learning to read at ages 8-10 (start learning, really) and in six months have surpassed in reading ability those kids who started learning to read at 3, 4, 5, etc. The brain can make better, correct connections with age and maturity so learn faster and 'better.' If your child is ready and loves reading, fine. But forcing kids to read who do not have the development will make the child feel bad about himself or herself, make reading hated, and not solve the problem.
We have no problem with the parent who holds the sports kid back a year or two, so he or she will be bigger, more coordinated, faster and smarter for Varsity sports. And that kid does do better all around. So stop thinking there is a race.
If the child stuck at home can really learn math--math builds--unless you have an A in math then there are holes in knowledge that will show up in subsequent years. Talking to adults, cooking, finding passions, dealing with boredom, trying to make rules to play games with siblings of different ages are invaluable--the latter being more valuable in lifeskills than playing adult run sports.
Colleges and universities are actually offering freshman money to take a gap year. Teens arrive academically almost overprepared but are devoid of lifeskills leading to a very high dropout rate. Deans want students to take a Gap Year to grow up. Covid disruption could have a better maturing effect. Gap year students in about 96% of cases graduate in 3.5 years (not the new 5.5 yr average for a 4-year degree), they have a 3.67 GPA, they do not change majors and they show a higher job satisfaction rate 5 and 10 years on, than the average student. Time off is not wasted.
Parents get little praise or thanks and to have bragging rights about what a genius the child is makes one feel like you are the best parent. I know it is tough.
Get years ahead in math and science and the highly selective college will not give you credit and often make the student repeat the class in order to learn the subject the way the college wants.
What happens if your child is years ahead? My daughter (educated in the UK and US) graduated high school with honors and top scores at fourteen---I kept her in until 15---but then what? I had envious friends who went into overdrive to push their children. Ours was just a logistics 'error' and an extremely smart, ambitious kid. But Ivies wanted her to wait a year, no internships or abroad programs would take a fifteen year old. One highly selective college took her, but a sixteen year old in with grad students who have families, or who can drink and drive makes collaboration hard, and employers will not hire the 19-year-old graduate as quickly as a 22 yr old, who is an adult with adult responsibilities, can buy a house, sign for a mortgage, has partied and survived, who has maturity and commitments that will keep them working harder in the job.
Winning the race can be losing--or just a lot of intense hard-work for no reason.
Make the most of the Covid time. Brain development will be on your side even if the school system will be frantic and genuinely overloaded learning to 'homogenized' the students returning. It will be an nightmare for a huge system but this generation is far from "lost"---they may end up ahead.