Connecting Lake Simcoe's Community

Home schooling can be difficult, but resources are available to help, writes Tia Harish.

The change from traditional schooling to online and hybrid models as a result of the pandemic has proved challenging for teachers, who have to adapt their lessons to an online environment, students, who have to adapt their learning to accommodate technology, and parents, who have to adapt their schedules to help their children study.

While teachers, students and parents should be patient with their school boards, there is a lot that people can do to supplement what online learning lacks -- individual help and localized education.

While online/hybrid school models can be very useful for some students, others may find that a hands-on approach works best for them. In these trying times, some are unable to maintain the standards set pre-pandemic.

If you’re a parent concerned about the well-roundedness of your child’s education, below are a few resources that might be helpful. Keep in mind that one advantage of living in the Lake Simcoe region is our proximity to nature. There is so much to learn from our backyards that students often don’t receive from a formal education.

Based on the idea that children need environments that encourage hands-on learning and exploration to thrive, an educational company called Ferngully Hollow’s Educational Resources has created personalized educational packages.

These kits are made from renewable and organic materials, and there’s a variety of themed packages for children up to 12 years old. The materials in these packages come from second-hand stores, antique markets, garage sales, and online marketplaces.

Ferngully Hollow founder Fawn Miligan says her company was inspired by her love for nature and the need that she sees to preserve it.

“I strongly believe in reusing materials and saving those unique treasures from becoming a part of landfills,” she says.

The educational packages combine natural resources and a personal touch missing from online learning to help children that need an extra hand.

Some agencies have also made several resources available for those who want to learn more about the world around them. The Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority has released several worksheets and activities for those who want to learn more about the world around them. The categories include family activities, individual activities, and educational worksheets. Initially made available during the summer, these worksheets and activities are perfect for young children who are still transitioning to online or hybrid learning.

The LSRCA offers a classic perspective on nature and provides activities for people of all ages and backgrounds. Learning about nature from an Indigenous perspective is something rarely found in schools.

The non-profit organization WaterFirst offers students and teachers a lesson on Canadian watersheds, as well as teaching students vocabulary words in the language of Anishnaabemowin to further incite curiosity and encourage learning.

Hopefully, some of these resources can help your family readjust to school life and improve your child’s learning.

Tia Harish is a Grade 11 student at Richmond Hill High School. Tia is working as an intern with Lake Simcoe Living through the co-op program at their school.

Photos by Tony Bellissimo. See his photo blog at https://www.facebook.com/LakeSimcoeAssociation

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