10 things to make your kids do while teachers strike

So, I’ve been hearing many kids are actually overjoyed to stay home due to the Chicago Teacher’s Union and Board of Education’s efforts to negotiate contract agreements.  What kid isn’t thrilled about getting in a few extra Z’s?

But let's be clear.  This is not summer vacation.

Every parent of a Chicago Public School student knows at some point, there will be a Science Fair, History Fair, Young Author's Competition, and Spelling Bee.  Make your kids get a headstart.

Some of you are utilizing the Chicago Children First  school sites designated to provide children a safe place to be for half day while parents work.  Good luck with that.  There are also many grandparents, aunties, uncles, and neighbors filling in to support those of us who have to work to keep bosses from having nervous breakdowns at the thought of their brilliant employees missing work.

Well, the Dean of Parents has provided you with 10 things to make your kids do while the teachers strike.  Of course, you can come up with more, but here is a start:

1. Write letters to friends and family.  Technology has almost eliminated the art of letter writing and I’m sure there are family members who would enjoy receiving a snail mail letter from your awesome kid. If they have a few thank-you notes to mail to grandparents for always slipping $20.00 bills into their welcoming pockets, or an Auntie Keri for indulging them with juicy treats,  this is a great time to get writing.  They can also write a few letters to teachers expressing appreciation for all they do.  The school clerk and janitor could use a few kind words, too.

2. Keep a journal.  Encourage kids to write or draw their feelings about the teacher’s strike.  If you haven’t already done so, take them to a school to see the teachers' picket signs and activity in front of a local school. Have them take photos or draw pictures.   If there happens to be a strike 25 years from now, they will have good memories of the 2012 Chicago teachers strike and possibly share historical information with their children.

3.  Read more books! Of course your kids read 47 books this summer, right?  Take another trip to the library and check out books to read.  There are 10 ways to become a better reader and they are: read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, and read.  Enough said.

4. Read the newspaper to catch up on current events.  Have them explore cities dealing with similar issues that impact their school systems.  Learn the reasons China’s Yangtze River is turning red.  Read about Massachusetts of Technology students’ invention that will eliminate our battles to extract the last drops of ketchup from the bottle.  Understand the issues that will impact the outcome of the United States Presidential Election.  There is more to life than INSTAGRAM.

5.  Tackle those difficult math problems.  I have asked four 4th graders to tell me the answer to 7x7All four looked for the answer in the sky.   Most of us are aware of our kid’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to math.  If your kid struggles with multiplication facts, have them practice their times tables.  Are they struggling with long division? Fractions? Prime Factorizations? Geometry? The Pythagorean Theorem?  Make them practice.  Period.  Need help on where to start?  Try GOOGLE.

6. Get ahead.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  Encourage kids to get ahead of the game by exploring topics for upcoming Science and History Fairs.  (See, I've even given you links to the websites--TWICE!) You know it's coming so, all you will hear from me is "I told you so" when I hear you complain about the last minute pictures you were stuck gluing to the display board while Kayla was in the bed.

7. Prepare for college entry.  I know the high school juniors are not at home on YouTube, right?  This is a no-brainer.   Start with 3 important letters: A-C-T prep.  You certainly don't need to shell out alot of dollars to help them get started with preparation to increase college entry opportunities.  While their getting ready to take the ACT test, make 'em them write their life story.  This can become their college application essay.

8.  Learn to do something new.  Encourage kids to find step-by-step guides to developing a website.  Explore the art of making paper.  Learn how to draw--or clean their room.     

9. Think of creative ways to serve the community.   Service projects are not only required but volunteerism is something we should all do to improve our communities.  Encourage your kid to brainstorm ideas to serve.    We constantly give to our kids.  Let's turn them into givers.

10. Assign chores. Have your kids organize their bedroom closets, your kitchen cabinets, the garage, the attic, etc.  Chores build character.  They need responsibilities.   Call me.  I could use some help around my house.

After reading this, you will think of more.  So, when they tell you "I'm bored.",  hand this list to them--with a wink.  There is plenty to do while we wait for negotiations to reach a solution that puts kids first.

 

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