EDMONTON -- A parenting expert and homeschooler is urging parents to stay calm as they cope with school closures across the province.

Alberta is in the midst of an unprecedented shutdown because of COVID-19 and many Alberta parents are worried about how they will keep up their children's education.

"Kids are born learners," said Judy Arnall, president of the Alberta Homeschooling Association. "So don’t worry, don't panic about keeping up with their curriculum and education."

Arnall recommends keeping some structure and routine at home and to focus on what is most appropriate for your child's grade level.

Up until kindergarten, children learn through play which is easy to continue at home.  

Grades 1 to 3 are mainly focused on reading and math.

"Cuddle up on the couch and read," Arnall suggests. "They can learn math skills through hands-on things like baking, board games."  

For Grades 4 to 6, Arnall recommends focusing on conversations and debates to help them explore different subjects and areas of interest.

She says junior high and high school education is more critical but says free online resources are very helpful:

"You can have the core concepts of what they learn in each of those subjects at your fingertips with some practice sheets, exams – really, really good things," Arnall said.

According to Arnall, it can be much more efficient to teach children at home compared to engaging a classroom of 30 kids. She says homeschoolers devote 30 minutes of instruction for Grades 1 to 6, an hour a day for Grades 7 to 9 and about two hours each day for high school students.

She reiterated that missing a few weeks or months of classroom time is not going to put any child behind.

"September will come around and we'll be back to the regular routine."