Here in B.C., our kids were out of school two weeks early because, as my eldest son who is in French Immersion wrote in his journal:
"Il n'y a pas ecole parce que le government et les profs n'est pas amis." (There is no school, because the government and the teachers are not friends.)
That about sums up the dispute that not only took our kids out of school two weeks early, but made them miss the first three weeks of the new school year. Parents have been scrambling to find child care in lieu of school, students have been missing attending class (and seeing their friends), and teacher friends of mine just want to be back in their classrooms, doing what they love. Teaching and loving and encouraging their students.
The teachers who lost five weeks of wages are feeling the financial strain, as are the other people affected by the strike (Bus drivers, support workers,maintenance workers, catering companies ... the list goes on and on). Parents have also felt the pinch to their pocketbook, whether they paid for child care they usually don't, or enrolled their kids in extracurricular activities to keep them busy, or bought online and offline resources to keep their kids' learning outside of school.
Here are five ways to ease the financial burden as we get back to regular life, post-strike:
1. The Temporary Education Support For Parents. The primary caregivers of kids aged twelve and under are eligible to receive $40 per day, per kid, for each day they missed school. From the website:
The temporary education support payment of $40 a day will be paid from Sept. 2, 2014, and will continue up to and including the day teachers ratify the agreement.
If ratified on Thursday Sept. 18, for example, parents would be eligible for payments covering 13 days, meaning a total of $520 for each eligible child. A family with two eligible kids will receive $1,040.
Hey. It's better than nothing.
2. Make sure you keep your child care receipts. Child care is deductible, whether it's a babysitter, daycare, or a day camp or a sleep-away camp.
3. Keep your fitness receipts. If your kids are registered in a qualified fitness activity, they are also deductible.
(I know that points 2 & 3 aren't immediate relief, but tax refunds are always nice! The earlier you file, the earlier the refund.) (Says the accountant who hates April 30th.)
4. Take advantage of support offered. It's great to be stoic and self-sufficient, but it's also okay to say Yes, I need help. Thank you.
5. Take time to clip coupons and use points cards. I'm always amazed when the cashier asks people before or after me in line if they have a PC Plus card and they say no. I feel like I should introduce myself and explain why they need it in their life. (I saved $50 on my last grocery bill. FIFTY DOLLARS.)
Do you have any tips to add, as we try to catch up on five weeks of missed school?
If you, like me, live in beautiful British Columbia, and have kids in the public school system, then you're in the same boat as I am. Our kids won't be in school for at least two weeks, and possibly not even until October. I'm frustrated, of course, and my kids are greatly disappointed. They love school — their friends, their teachers, learning new things. I told them that I'd find them some online sites and maybe some workbooks to keep their minds sharp and to keep them from playing Minecraft for many hours a day.
Whether you're in B.C. or not, you may appreciate these additional resources for parents and kids.
I polled the YMC writers and got a few great ideas:
I looked around at my kids' school websites and found some more helpful links:
Learn Now B.C.
My eldest son is in French Immersion and his teacher from last year (Sixth grade) has a page of great links. As he's starting seventh grade, I checked that teacher's page, and she has even more great links for him to peruse.
I searched for "educational resources for parents" and found a few more:
Discovery Education Canada (We love the Discovery channel!)
Those are just the tip of the iceberg, if you Google the resources available. Are there any sites (or workbooks) that you love and want to share?
* If you like this post, check out How To Balance Work and Family and 5 Tips For Having A Great Relationship With Your Kids