San Juan Capistrano School Strike, help for parents

San Juan Capistrano School District teacher strike;

Parents- now could be the time to consider schooling options for your family, maybe dabble a bit with the idea of homeschooling...or, if homeschooling is not in your future, you will be thinking about how to keep your kids learning.

Hopefully, the walk-out will be a short one, but during the time your kids are out of school, a plan might be helpful.

First, in your shoes, I would have my kids bring home their textbooks if they can. Find out where they are in Math, language arts, Science and Social Studies and plan on covering maybe a page a day in Math/language arts/handwriting/spelling. Subjects like Science and Social Studies are not usually taught everyday for the younger grades- pick 1 day to work on Social Studies and 1 day to work on Science. For High School, you could take the same sort of approach, but pick 1 or 2 days to dive into a subject for a greater length of time.

If you cannot get the textbooks, or you know the other kids still attending the school will not be doing academics during this time ( a really big bet there...) you could instead get a little creative with your week and concentrate on encouraging a love of learning and educational exploration.

Math games

Fun for all involved and a good way to cement math facts and teach them to compute at a faster rate.

  • play with 2 dice- roll the dice and then have your students compute the 2 numbers the way you command: multiply, divide, add or subtract. Roll again and have them compute another function to the answer- the numbers will get bigger and your child's brain will be working, his understanding will be increasing.
  • Write a number on a piece of paper such as 125; give each student a piece of paper and have them write as many different equations as they can to equal 125. If you only have 1 student, you play against them. The winner has the most equations.
  • play multiplication/division or addition/subtraction relay. Student runs to one point, answers the flashcard quickly, runs to the next point and answers another.
  • math war, card game- use playing cards, have a pile for each player. The players turn over 1 card each from their stack and then the winner yells out the answer to the sum of the two numbers, or subtract the smaller number from the larger, or use multiplication. Keep points.
Language Arts

  • School House Rock dvds. Yes, the shorts you remember from childhood. Buy it on amazon, or check if your library has it. Watch 1 a few times, sing a long, then discuss. -
    "a pronoun takes the place of a noun, cus' saying all those nouns over and over can really wear you down!..." Sing it!
  • Mad Libs. Get them at your local Barnes & Nobles or borders. Fun. Grammar.
  • Write! Start a story club, yes- parent too! Start your stories, then meet to discuss and offer each other helpful suggestions. Tell your young author the parts you loved, what part shined, how great their use of descriptive words was...instruct how to write an outline, how to use quotations correctly.
  • Write letters to characters in stories you read together. Postcards from the Lost Boys to Peter Pan, a thank you letter from Country Mouse to City Mouse

  • Pick a good book and read it out loud together. Discuss interesting vocabulary. Ask what will happen next. Ask for a short review of what happened when you left off last, before you start the next chapter. When you are done, ask your student to respond to it in some way, a book report, paint a picture from a scene in the story, make puppets and act out a scene.
  • Listen to a good book on audio. Click *here for our audio book suggestions, there are some great books on audio, read with talent. The Tale of Despereaux comes to mind- just killing on audio and better, better than the movie- and different. Ella Enchanted, again, funny/wonderful/much, much different than the movie.
  • For your older student, pick a classic they haven't experienced such as Little Woman or Heidi, or Great Expectations. Order a lit guide, there are some great lit guides in the homeschool market. Each of you read your own copy of the book, and then work through the lit guide together. *here is a lit guide for Little Women.

  • Pick up interesting DVD's at your library, for young elementary students look for The Magic School bus series, then pick up books on the subject in the non-fiction section. Explore these together, discuss. Have your student draw something he learned and write a few sentences about it. Google the subject for project ideas, you might find yourself drawing the solar system with chalk on your driveway, or growing crystals in a jar.
  • Use your fiction reading to jump off and learn about the author, or a character. What was Louisa May Alcott's childhood like? Did she reflect her experiences in her writing?
  • Check out documentaries on the Netflix lists. They have some great ones.
  • Check out sites such as Enchanted Learning. For a small fee, you can get great printables of maps, flags, vocabulary, crafts, writing.

You will be surprised, you can probably cover all these subjects by lunchtime.*Your high schoolers will have a bit of a longer day finishing reading or writing assignments (Maybe save the read aloud or audio book for after lunch) Imagine a school day without losing minutes lining up, taking roll-call, listening to announcements... finishing an assignment quickly and moving on to the next thing, instead of waiting for the rest of the class to finish, not spending 20 minutes as a class correcting your neighbor's test together...Homeschooling moves much more quickly, you have the rest of the day to enjoy or go somewhere and explore.

I am, of course, hoping you will come on over to our side... :)