Parents concerned about New Brunswick’s plans for home learning

With New Brunswick schools closed for the rest of the school year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents in the province are bracing themselves for a new challenge: home learning.

“I have an education degree but I don’t really think that actually is going to help me in this situation, I mean teaching your own children is a whole different animal,” said Julie Little, a mom of three in Fredericton.

Education minister Dominic Cardy announced on Thursday that the province is opting to keep schools closed out of an abundance of caution.

That means teaching from home.

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During his announcement, Cardy recommended students spend a minimum of one to two-and-a-half hours of learning time per day, depending on their grade level.

“Neither myself and my husband are able to be working right now because of [COVID-19] so I think we’re going to be able to handle that,” said Little.

Marsha Collicott, also a mother of three in the Fredericton-area, had to close down her cleaning business as a result of the pandemic and has already started home learning.

“I attempted the first couple of days that they were home and that I was home full time with them, that did not go very far, two days in and I kind put a stop to the more structured plan,” said Marsha Collicott.

Marsha decided to do hands-on learning with cooking, virtual zoo tours and arts and crafts while Julie Little prefers old-school lesson plans.

“It will be structured but if there is something that someone is having a meltdown over XYZ, we’re not going to force things because the children are affected and aware of what’s going on and we need to be mindful and sensitive to that,” said Little.

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When the details of the lesson plans are released, the pair of mothers hope there is support for parents included.

“Situations where they’re doing Grade 12 calculus or whatever I think that’s going to be when it’s important for these programs that the district doles out they are going to have to be well designed,” said Little.

New Brunswick has confirmed that information about home learning will be posted online and that parents will be contacted by schools in the coming days.