Learning at Home

With the suspension of classes in Manitoba schools and many early learning and family programs closed, adjustments will take time. Learning at home may be different and exciting for many families, but it may also be challenging. Many children and youth may enjoy spending more time with family, but they may also miss their ECEs, teachers, and friends. All children and youth can continue learning at home with or without technology. School-aged children and youth will continue their learning with teachers. You can communicate with your child’s teachers to choose fun ways to enhance learning at home.

Meaningful learning is all around us. While no one expects you to replace all the activities that happen in childcare centres, family resource programs, and schools, you are important in your child’s learning. Your child learns from you all the time. While academic learning is important, your child’s physical and mental health and well-being are important too. You can enhance your child’s learning through play, everyday activities, and online learning resources. How you support your child will depend on your child’s age, needs, and the time you have available.

On this page, you will find parent guides and suggestions on how to:



Set Routines

Many children and youth thrive on predictability. Knowing what comes next can provide comfort, especially when so much else right now is different. Changes in daily routines can be stressful for your child. Try to keep normal but flexible routines when possible. Familiar routines, with consistent times for wake-up, meals, learning time, bedtime and lots of indoor and outdoor play, will help your child and your family. As you make changes to routines, try to do them gradually rather than all at the same time. Creating a weekly schedule can help your child feel secure, reduce stress, and help them develop healthy habits. When making a weekly schedule, consider the following questions:

  1. What does your child’s regular morning routine look like? What do they need to do to get ready for the day? When does your child usually sleep and have meals?
  2. When does your child learn best? When will they do academic work and communicate with their teachers and classmates? What is the plan for screen time?
  3. When will your child have free play and breaks? When will your child have daily physical activity and do chores and fulfill their other responsibilities?
  4. When is the best time for family time and communicating with others?
  5. As you think about your family’s weekly schedule, is there flexibility and balance among academic learning, physical activity, and quiet time? Is there a balance with spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health?

Create a Space for Learning

Learning can take place in many places in your home or even outside (weather permitting while maintaining physical distancing). It is still important to have a quiet, comfortable place that is dedicated to your child’s learning—a place where they can create, build, and move. This will help them stay focused, organized, and inspired. Create this space with your child, and consider these questions:

  1. Is this space quiet with few distractions? Is the space welcoming and inspiring?
  2. Is there a desk, kitchen table, or other work surface at a comfortable height for your child? Is there space for a cozy nook or a place with comfortable pillows and blankets?
  3. Is there a place for creating, building, and moving? Is there enough storage for supplies and materials like pencils, paint, and blocks?
  4. Are there windows and sufficient lighting?
  5. Is it easy to access a telephone, computer/tablet, or other technology (if available)?

Help Your Child

The kinds of supports you provide your child may change, as well as how often you have to provide them. You will likely need to make adjustments as you and your child settle into daily routines and as the learning activities change. Here are some suggestions on ways to help all learners.

  • Be patient with your child and yourself. The most important thing is for your child to feel safe, loved, and supported while learning from home during this complex time.
  • Be curious and let your child know you are interested in what they are learning by asking questions and sharing your own wonderings.
  • Relax and appreciate that learning takes time, perseverance, and practice. This is also a good opportunity to make meaningful connections.
  • Encourage positive communication when learning together. Negative comments can hurt self-esteem and confidence.
  • Reinforce good learning habits and celebrate and share your child’s learning and successes.
  • Make opportunities to learn in the natural environment with the world around them (when it is possible).
  • Keep in touch with your child’s teachers for guidance and support with learning at home. Telephone and video chats are great ways to stay connected with teachers, friends, and family.

Consider these helpful tips for learning at home with your child.


Preschool

Setting up Special Play Spaces for Young Children

  • For young children who are used to being with other children and having many varied play experiences, so much time at home may present its own challenges. Boredom in toddlers or preschool children looks different than boredom in older children or adults. Your young child may be whinier or seek more attention from you; they may wander around rather than play steadily; or they may even act more aggressively.
  • Young children benefit from the chance to observe and model their behaviour after their siblings. For this reason, you may wish to encourage siblings to work on their projects in the same place.

Vary and Rotate Your Child’s Toys and Books

  • If your young child has many toys (and your space allows), reduce the number of toys that are out at the same time. You can divide the toys so that each room has a few items that your child enjoys. For example, books and quiet toys in the bedroom; active toys in the living room, basement, or outdoors; toys that are waterproof and that float in the bathroom; messy play at the kitchen table where clean-up might be easier. Reserve some smaller, quieter toys, puzzles, and books for the kitchen or office to keep younger children busy if older siblings are working.
  • If you have a variety of toys and books, pick out some current favourites and put the rest in a closet for now. In a few days or a week, you can switch around what is available to your child and suddenly it is like new toys or books have arrived!
  • Toddlers and preschoolers who have previously attended children’s or family programs are probably already somewhat used to the idea that “clean-up” is part of the daily schedule. Fewer toys and books out at a time will make clean-up easier, and it will be one more routine that is familiar.

Early Years

  • Find a balance with school material, physical activity, and quiet time. Be flexible with your family’s schedule. If your child is getting frustrated with learning, stop and do something else. Make a snack, read a book, work on a puzzle, or play a game. Later, let your child talk about their frustration.
  • Make sure you and your child get breaks for meals and snacks, physical activity, playtime, music, and quiet time. Consider when your child may need a “brain break,” or if they need more learning support. Sometimes more frequent short breaks are better than a few long breaks.
  • Offer encouragement and acknowledge your child’s efforts and achievements. If you are feeling a sense of joy and enthusiasm, your child likely will too.
  • Create a positive environment and attitude that reinforces the joy and excitement of learning. Variety can keep things fresh.

Middle Years

Most learners aged 11 to 14 are becoming more independent.

  • Connect with your child’s teacher. Maintaining regular communication with your child’s teachers allows you to discuss ways you can support your child’s learning and growing independence.
  • Plan together with your child. Help your child set priorities, establish daily routines, and organize weekly schedules that ensure a balance of academic work, social engagement, and physical exercise.
  • Encourage and support your child’s ongoing learning. Ensure your child has some time and space for independent learning on their own. Asking questions about their work and thinking aloud will help children process and show that you value their learning. Remind them that questions are important and that they need to keep asking their teacher questions.
  • Nurture your child’s social development by creating a supportive community (help lines, parents/caregivers, peers, counsellors, and Elders/Knowledge Keepers) while following social (physical) distancing requirements. Encourage your child to connect by phone, computer, or other devices.
  • Read more suggestions on how to help your child at home at Quick Tips for Supporting your Middle Schoolers at Home.

Senior Years

Most Senior Years learners will work closely with their teachers and will require minimal support for their coursework from parents and caregivers.

  • Offer encouragement to your child by asking about what they are learning and how their learning connects to life outside the classroom.
  • Understand that your teen may face challenges or frustration and this may be part of the learning process for dealing with the stress they are feeling during this difficult time. Discuss with them how they are trying to overcome difficulties.
  • Help your teen set aside time and a place for learning and work within a realistic schedule. Encourage students to keep a physical planner to organize assignments for different classes and to prioritize tasks. This will help them with organization and time management, and help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Help your teen with future planning as they make decisions about their next steps.
  • Encourage your teen to nurture their social connections remotely. Help them create a supportive community with help lines, parent/guardians, peers, and Elders/Knowledge Keepers (while following social distancing requirements).

Parent Guides

Explore these subject/learning area guides for parents and caregivers. The guides provide information to help enhance learning at home. For activity suggestions, view everyday learning activities and online learning resources.

For All Learning Areas

My Child in School: Find information that relates to all the different subject areas from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

My Child in the Middle Years: Read about Middle Years learning and what works well for young adolescent students for learning, including strategies you can use at home.

Early Childhood Learning

The Learning Partnership Resource Book for Early Learners: This engaging parent guide provides information and activities for learning at home with your child. It includes ways to talk, sing, read, move, and play with your child. There is information about healthy media use and a COVID-19 Resource Centre page.

National Association for Young Children for Families: This site includes many research-based resources, tips, and ideas for families about child development in areas such as reading, writing, music, math, and more!

Career Development

A Career Development Resource for Parents: This guide has been developed to help parents support teens as they explore their options and make decisions about their future. It is intended to provide parents with some practical ideas and resources to use with their children.

English as an Additional Language (EAL)

Ryerson Home Language Brochure: View this parent brochure that is available in 26 languages! Read about the importance of using the family language at home with children and youth.

English Language Arts and Literacy

Helping Your Child Learn to Read: A Parent’s Guide: This parent guide identifies ways to encourage young children to read and to love reading. It will be most useful for parents of young children who are just beginning to read.

French

Manitoba Education French Language Learning at Home: This guide for parents and caregivers provides suggestions to help support their child’s French language learning at home.

Literacy with ICT

Manitoba Education Literacy with ICT for Parents: This parent site provides ways you can support you child’s literacy with information and communication (ICT) at home. It also discusses ways to keep your child safe when using technology.

Mathematics and Numeracy

Helping Your Child Learn Math: A Parent’s Guide: This guide provides important steps for parents and caregivers in helping children develop numeracy skills. It includes mathematics activities for parents and children.

Mathematics Curriculum Essentials: These interactive PDFs, developed by the Manitoba Department of Education, outline expectations for each grade and link to the Manitoba provincial curriculum.

Mathematics Support Documents: These documents contain activities and learning experiences that promote meaningful engagement for math learners in Kindergarten to Grade 8.

Advice for Parents: This is a brief guide for parents to help them transform their child’s math learning through six simple steps.

Jump Math: The site provides teacher lesson plans and exercises for students in Kindergarten to Grade 8.

12 Steps to Increase Your Child’s Math Achievement and Make Math Fun: A guide for parents to help them improve their child’s math achievement.

Physical Education and Health Education

At the Heart of Education: This report explains the vision for physically active and healthy lifestyles for your child in Manitoba. It connects active living to nutrition and health information and healthy food choices.

Active for Life: Raising Physically Literate Kids: This resource for parents and caregivers provides information on ways to develop your child’s physical literacy, allowing them to enjoy many different physical activities and sports.

Science

Science Curriculum Essentials: View these interactive PDFs that outline expectations for each grade and link to the provincial curriculum.

Science Surrounds Us: This parent report highlights some of the features of Manitoba’s science curriculum and ways parents can help their children learn.

Social Studies

Social Studies Curriculum Essentials: These are interactive PDFs that outline expectations for each grade and link to the provincial curriculum.