CBC news sent out a survey to 50’000 educators across Canada and received over 9000 responses about how the school year went for their studetns (May 2021). Thousands of Canadian teachers have raised serious concerns about the fallout of pandemic schooling. Here are just some of the findings:
- 80% of educators said they were at least somewhat behind schedule with the required curriculum
- More than half said that their students are not meeting learning objectives
- Over 70% of high school teachers who responded reported grading students more leniently
- 70% of respondents agreed that some students will not catch up academically
- Exams were cancelled and many tests were open-book to make it easier on students
- 75% of high school teachers said some students have already stopped attending school altogether
(find the CBC news report here)
In addition these findings, students are covering less material on an accelerated schedule. This poses challenges especially in subjects such as math and science which take time to master. Teachers report having to cut out “massive swaths” of curriculum, while watering down other units leaving students with a lack of fundamental skills needed for higher levels of study. While there are plans to help students catch up with online summer programs, the question remains whether they will fill the significant learning gaps and prevent long-term learning deficits.
The Homeschool Advantage
The challenges students face in the educational system are not experienced by homeschool students. Homeschool curricula in math and science are comprehensive and complete. Students complete the curricula over the duration of the school year, usually divided into around 36 weeks. Students complete reviews, unit tests, and exams.
For homeschooled high-school students who are enrolled in one of the well-established online schools, the content and quality of schooling has not been affected by the pandemic. Course schedules are set out at the beginning of the year and are adhered to; the completion of curriculua is not optional and is not contingent on disruptions caused by lockdowns and changing schedules. Students are graded based on participation, assignments, and exams; tests are not dropped because students are ill-prepared, exams are not cancelled because objectives have not been met, and grades are not assigned more leniently due to the pandemic. Importantly, students are provided with the necessary instruction, time, and support to master fundamental skills necessary for post-secondary studies.
Math & Science
The Potter’s School – This is an outstanding, accredited online school that offers a wide selecttion of courses in all subject areas. In Math, they offer Pre-Algebra (Grade 7/8), Algebra, Algebra II, Geometry, Calculus, AP Calculus, AP Statistics. They also offer Pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Algebra II review courses during June and July. For Science TPS offeres courses in Anatomy and Physiology, Biology, Chemistry, Chemistry Problem Solving, Environmental Science, Forensic Science, Physics. Many of these courses are also offered at the AP level.
Memoria Press Online Academy – MPOA has offered high-quality online instruction since 2006. They offer rigorous math courses from grade 4 to Calculus. For Science MPO offers Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Introductory and Advanced Physics.
Classical Learning Resource Centre – CLRC math classes combine one of the best math teaching software systems available with excellent live, interactive classes. CLRC offers classes in Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Algebra II, Geometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus. For Science CLRC offers Biology, Chemistry, AP Chemistry, and Physics.
An more economical solution to gaining a solid foundation in math is using a homeschool math curriculum. See here for a detailed list of excellent math resources.
Here is an excellent homeschool science curriculum that can be completed independently.
Elemental Science – High School Choose from Chemistry, Biology or Physics. Elemental Science offers affordable easy-to-follow plans centered around a standard textbook from CK12, which are enhanced by hands-on (or online) experiments. These guides are written to the student as supervised independent learning courses. These self-guided programs contain plans for:
- Textbook assignments using online textbooks from CK12, which are available for free. Each week includes reading selections, vocabulary terms, and comprehension questions.
- Weekly experiments from an expertly designed high school experiment kit. These kits make it possible for you to bring the standard lab experience into your home. We have also included an online lab option with Beyond Labz for those who would prefer to utilize a virtual lab resource. You can see tutorials and demos of these online labs on the Beyond Labz YouTube Channel.
- Three scheduling options – a survey course without labs, a standard lab science course, and an honors course – so you can choose which option best suits your student’s needs.