Once in a while, teachers go on strike. Parents start to worry about the fact that there’s no real set time frame for when their kids are going back to school. They wonder what they are going to do, how their child is not going to fall behind, and if they should be teaching their kids.
First of all, relax. Don’t panic. It’s going to be ok. A few days, weeks, months, or even a year without formal education isn’t going to set your child up for failure for the rest of their life. Kids learn an incredible amount of information just through everyday interactions and experiences.
Now, to decide what you are going to do.
Do you want to just use this an extended summer? Go for it! Enjoy the time together. Have adventures, go exploring, visit museums, take day trips. This is a uniquely special time to create memories that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Feel free to use this opportunity.
Are you wanting to keep learning fresh in your children’s mind, or want to start working on the new year of school? I know this can be overwhelming to think of. Even homeschoolers can feel overwhelmed by this. But here are some ideas of how to keep on learning without the school system that are free or cheap.
1. Do a Unit Study. Pick a topic your child loves and dive in. Go to the library and stock up on books. Check YouTube or Netflix for documentaries or related TV shows. Check Pinterest for craft ideas. Use Google and search for “(topic idea) lapbook” and you can often find some great resources to build on for learning. This can work for just about anything:
- science topics like space or animals
- literature based like Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls, or King Arthur
- history topics like World Wars, Ancient Egypt, etc.
- cultural studies exploring countries around the world
- technological studies like computer programming or even Minecraft!
- Khan Academy: Math. This is a free website that aims to bring an open platform of education to anyone who wants it. It’s a terrific way to work on math – especially in the older grades where things can be hard for parents to teach. The site has instructional videos that are clear to understand with lots of visual examples, followed by learning questions and review. Kids earn points and awards, which they love, through a mastery system – they have to continuously show they understand concepts before they get mastery in any skill. It’s completely possible for kids to work at their own speed independently.
- Essential Skills Advantage: Language Arts. This site has lots of learning options for K through 6 – spelling, reading comprehension, vocab, and more. I recently did a review of their paid program and was very impressed. It’s not filled with games and edutainment, but exercises and activities that thoroughly dig into reading skills.
- Wonderville.ca: Science. Although not a curriculum, this website is stuffed full of great resources for science. Games, videos, hands-on experiment ideas, and stories – Wonderville explores everything from cells and electricity to showcasing a variety of science-based jobs.
- Mango Languages: French. Many libraries across the country have teamed up with Mango Languages to offer free language courses. You aren’t limited to French either. Check to see if your library offers this program.
- History Through Living Books: Use fictional literature to study more about our Canadian history. This makes learning history fun, personal, and more relevant to kids.
3. SmartSeries Books: This series of books has a couple of options.
- First, they offer the Complete Canadian Curriculum series of books for grades 1 through 8. These cover math, english, science, and social studies in a single book per grade. Aligned with the curriculum plans for each grade, these are terrific books. Although I wouldn’t consider your child finished their entire year of school when the book is complete, it’s a good resource to use either as a base or an intro to learning. It would be a great way to fill in the time during the strike.
- Second, there are individual books for Math, English, Science, and French for each grade. (Look for MathSmart, EnglishSmart, etc.) These are much more in depth than the complete grade edition books and are great books. Since they are typically able to be purchased at stores such as Chapters and Costco, and are very reasonably priced – these books are quite popular for homeschoolers across Canada.
Hopefully these ideas will help you during this period of no school. Most important thing to remember is that learning should be fun. Try just to enjoy this time with your kids.