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Three ways to help your kids get ready for fall

Although it's unclear what the 2020-2021 school year will look like, there are still some things you can do this summer to prepare.

MINNEAPOLIS — Brain drain is the loss of academic skills during summer months. And with all kinds of activities canceled this summer, your kids might be even more disengaged.

Here are three ways to help them get ready for fall:

1. Set up a workspace

If digital learning replaces in-person school, your kid will spend hours at their workspace. Even if they do end up back in their school building, they'll still need an area for homework. So set up a comfortable learning environment complete with a desk, chair, lamp, school supplies — and consider tackling this process with your child. As a summer activity, you could even DIY a few pieces of decor. The more involved in the process, the more motivated they may be to use the space.

2. Virtual camp

There are plenty of virtual camps still in session and many of them are free. 

St. Paul Connect offers a variety of programs. As does the YMCA's Y at Home website. It has guided videos as well as indoor and outdoor activity suggestions for families to do on their own, including working out as a family, picking a book series to read at the same, scheduled time, making an obstacle course around the house, mapping out emergency plans for what to do if there's a fire or severe weather, and going on a nature walk. Educators say to ask your kids open-ended questions along the way.

3. Regularly check your school district's website

Back-to-school information should be one of the first things you see on your school district's website. For instance, the Minneapolis Public Schools website says to check back regularly for updates ranging from what school supplies are needed to where school will even take place.

The Minnesota Department of Education has asked districts to develop three contingency plans for the upcoming school year. One model would be for attending classes in-person, another would be for distance learning, and one that would be a hybrid of the two. State education and health officials plan to determine which model districts should go with the week of July 27.

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