How to survive home schooling your kids
Nail at-home education with these expert tips for remote learning.
Victorian families have entered a brave new world of at-home learning this week, as roughly one million students tackle their term two schooling remotely.
It’s a radical change that will challenge students, teachers and parents, so we’ve asked specialists in distance learning, e-safety and teacher-parent partnerships for their tips on surviving – and thriving – while learning from home. (Plus, how to keep your kids safe online.)
Remote learning survival tips
Remember, you are not your child’s teacher…
“Children are not being home schooled,” points out Deakin University education senior lecturer Elizabeth Rouse, who has a special focus on partnerships between parents and teachers. “They’re actually being schooled by teachers who are working really hard to make the learning as enjoyable and engaging as they can and to support those kids at home to maintain their continuity with school.
“They are the children’s teachers and parents need to a take a bit of the pressure off themselves, thinking they need to take on yet another role of schooling children while also trying to be a parent and work from home.”
… but you are their parent
“Teachers want to know the parents have their back,” says Elizabeth. “They need the parent at home to support their child to be focused and also to recognise if their child’s just not coping today and to have that dialogue with the teacher.”
Stick to a school routine
Elizabeth emphasises the importance of sticking to a normal school-day routine of getting up and dressed and ready to work by the normal school start time. “A parent might say, ‘I’ve got to write this report so let’s have learning time, I’ll do my work, you do your work, we’ll all sit there from 9 til 11 and get our work done then we’ll have a break at 11 together’,” she suggests.
“That’s what we normally do, if you’re in an office you have a break, at school it’s morning play. Go out, sit in the sunshine, have a cup of tea, have a snack, have a run outside – then come back in and start again and at 1 o’clock we’ll break for lunch.”
Organise a learning space
Education department guidelines recommend setting up a “quiet and comfortable” place to learn, ideally in a shared family space such as a loungeroom or dining room rather than a bedroom “where your child can feel isolated and supervision can be more challenging”.
“Not everyone has the opportunity for a dedicated space,” says Elizabeth. “If you’re in a two-bedroom house with three kids all learning from home and you’re trying to work and the only place you have is the dining-room table or the kitchen bench, then that’s what you’ve got, that’s your workspace.”