Education isn’t the first thing that comes into your head when you think about a situation that puts our very survival in question, but once the initial shock and awe of the situation is overcome and we settle into our new reality, then the education of our young should be considered an important albeit time-consuming task that we need to get on with as soon as we can.
Most modern schools wouldn’t be able to function without electricity and any event that sees the grid going down for a prolonged period of time, such as an EMP or solar flare, a cyber attack on the grid, or even a pandemic that leaves the infrastructure ill-maintained and lacking in capacity, will have an effect on our children education.
It’s imperative that some form of education continues because if it doesn’t who is going to take up the mantle when we are no longer able to do what needs to be done?
I have never taught children, adults in a clinical arena yes, kids who don’t want to be taught, no but I have to face the fact that there may be a time when educating my youngest, or even my grandchildren becomes one of my tasks.
Education in a collapse situation will take a different format than it does now. The computers, iPads and smartphones that allow us to call up information in seconds will be no more, it will be back to books and slates, or paper if you have enough stored, and many people, particularly the kids concerned will struggle as it’s something they have never known.
My daughters school is all-but paperless. Everything except practical subjects are computer based, homework is uploaded to their personal page, marked by staff online and then deposited in the marked work folder. She can check on her timetable, special requirements for that day and read the required textbooks in the virtual library that is right there at her fingertips. Alterations in lesson plans, unexpected school issues et al are all on the site, it is almost at the stage where she actually need not physically attend the building.
No notes are passed between staff and parents…oh no, I whizz off a quick email which is read and responded to usually within the hour. I have my own area in my daughters semi-virtual school, a place where staff can alert me to educational issues and should she be late getting to school I know about it within five minutes of registration taking place. I can check how much money she spent and even what she ate in the canteen. That’s way too much parental snooping for my liking and I foresee that one blip in the power supply and the entire system will cease to function!
Now personally I love books and my child loves books, which is why we have a houseful of them but I’m not entirely sure that some kids at her school actually understand the concept of holding something and having to turn pages rather than searching for the terms you need to know about and advancing on the screen to the right page.
So what to teach them should the worst happen and what about those who have no experience of teaching in any form?
It’s a good idea to have a look around at the kind of books that are available for kids, for example, the Horrible Histories books give an overview of different periods of time and the books are presented in an entertaining way that kids seem to get on with.
You should be gathering enough material that you can cover the basics in each subject. The children of a collapse will still need to know about the wider world so an atlas or globe is a good starting point. Basic mathematics is an absolute must and most parents and carers can cope with simple addition, subtraction,division and multiplication. Times tables can be written out if need be and the kids can learn them the old way, by repetition.
Science is a biggie, some of these kids will be rebuilding society and those with a sound basic scientific knowledge will literally be helping everyone affected by whatever calamity has befallen us. Some companies sell mini encyclopaedia sets at a very affordable price that cover the basics of scientific principles. Ours for example is 14 books. They cover the basics the basics of biology physics and chemistry for kids aged around 11 to 14. They are a good introduction to the subject. Due to my past career as an anaesthetic and surgical technician and my degree which is Environmental Science I have every book I ever used for both which will hopefully come in useful. Use any knowledge you have, we all have experience in a different and varied fields, it doesn’t have to be documented or learned in college to make it valuable.
Do you have boxes of old books in the roof space? Brilliant, every little helps. Hunt garage sales and second-hand books shops and add them to your cache. Remember, in a long term grid down scenario no more books will be published or printed…get them now whilst you can.
Got an old kids blackboard and chalk lying around? If not buy one, they’re pretty cheap. Alternatively blackboard paint is a way to create a reusable wipe of board. Both would save a huge amount of paper when home teaching subjects like mathematics.
English language and literature can be dealt with by reading together for younger children and having a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction around for older kids will encourage them to read for pleasure, which is half the battle.
We have to be a little philosophical and accept that we are not experts in everything and actually that’s fine, as long as we do what we can we are doing our best for our children. Maybe you have a skill you can teach a child from outside the family in exchange for the other parent helping out with the book work, can you get a look at any homeschooling paperwork? If may give useful hints and tips on teaching for the uninitiated. There are many variations on the theme, think laterally and try and find the best solution for your family before you need it.
Aside from book work and a more formal approach to education practical skills will be of the utmost importance and kids love to help with ‘jobs’ that they may not have been allowed to do previously.
Teaching children such skills as safe wood cutting, fishing, gardening, trap making, cooking, sewing etc is vitality important if they are to become balanced and self-sufficient individuals. All practical skills should be taught to both sexes…nothing except giving birth should be gender specific after a societal collapse. There will most likely have been a major population reduction associated with the event itself and the kids need as much knowledge and as many practical skills as they can to take into their adult life.
A few tips to get kids engaged before you have to:
Giving kids a passion for learning is one of the best gifts we can ever give them because collapse or not, they are the future.