Your home-schooling questions answered.
With Queensland schools currently student-free in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), many parents have turned to home-schooling to keep up to date with their children’s education.
Complete Education Australia Director of Learning Ellen Brown shared her tips for educating children at home.
A lot has changed since I was at school. Am I up to the task of home-schooling?
Our first goal is to reassure parents not to be worried about their capability to home-school.
They have been home-schooling their children since the kids were born.
The only difference is the topics they are teaching. They are well equipped and qualified.
Do I need to set a routine?
Getting on the front foot and establishing a routine is really important so kids understand what is expected.
It is crucial to get into a routine fast and set expectations.
Be flexible but also make it a positive experience so they want to complete the work assigned for that day.
What home-schooling resources are available to me?
Your child's school will communicate with you and provide learning activities for your child to do at home.
How do I plan out each day?
Have a daily plan on the fridge. This allows everyone to know their plans for the day.
We all do better when we have a plan to wake up to. Spend time with the kids writing a weekly timetable.
By covering maths and English each morning and one other subject each afternoon, the full curriculum can be covered.
One really important thing is to have a start time. Without a start time, screens can gobble up the hours. Although this is entertaining, kids soon become irritable without hands on activities.
For example: Monday: Start time 8am - maths, English, art; Tuesday: Start time 8am - maths, English, science and so on.
Do I have to work set hours, like 9am - 3pm?
We encourage students to go at their own pace and many of our parents tell us that their kids are really motivated and so they finish early having completed all their work for the day.
Will my child fall behind?
Many of the parents I’ve been speaking to are worried that their kids will fall behind, with everyone in the same boat, I am sure this will not be the case, as schools are working hard to provide the lessons required.
Not only that, you can actually take advantage of the time. This is an amazing opportunity to give their kids extra revision to catch up, or extension to move ahead.
They can spend time working on areas they are passionate about. Spending the afternoon completing an art or science project is so satisfying.
Just because they are not in school doesn’t mean they cannot thrive. We see children learn quickly with one-on-one attention and a loving, accepting environment. They can actually return to school with confidence.
How do I keep the kids motivated?
Get the kids involved and let them have a say. Kids need to feel they are a valuable part of the team.
Fostering a “one for all and all for one” attitude is wonderful for building a close family in a difficult time.
Add cooking lessons to lunchtime. Meals can be part of the fun of the day. Cleaning can be placed on the daily roster.
How can I get help and advice at home?
If you are using your school’s resources, the school will likely organise a teacher to be available online and you can also join your school community groups to get advice from others in this situation.
Ellen’s tips for learning at home
- Celebrate their wins and completion of work for the day. Just a few celebrations can make the world of difference
- It’s important to add in online or phone social breaks so they can contact their friends and feel connected.
- Also try laughing yoga as a planned activity to keep things fun and positive.
- Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Kids are all individuals and they all have different ways of learning and sometimes one size does not fit all.