Keep home-schooling lessons short and sharp

Online learning requires a different approach to sitting in the classroom.

Parents and caregivers have been reminded that home education should be kept to short, sharp periods of learning.

RACQ Education Manager Julie Smith said learning at home in an online environment was vastly different to sitting in a classroom.

“It's just not very effective to have a normal six-hour school day when learning online,” she said.

“Students can’t be sitting on their computers for six hours because online learning is so much different to physically learning in the classroom.

“There is only so much their brains can take up.”

HOME-SCHOOL SURVIVAL GUIDE

Ms Smith said students should follow the learning timeframes recommended by Education Queensland on its website.

“With online learning, the ‘chunks’ of learning need to be a lot smaller and shorter in length,” she said.

“Parents will probably notice for the first couple of weeks as they and their children adapt to this medium, that they will be quite tired.

“This is tough work on the brain but very doable. Just like other muscles, the brain just needs to get used to a new training regime.”

The Government is committed to the home-learning model until May 22 with a decision on the rest of the term expected by the middle of that month.

Julie’s top tips for home learning

  • RESILIENCE: Even before the coronavirus reared its ugly head, the next generation of youth needs to be taught resilience skills. Now more than ever they would be feeling vulnerable and insecure. So having the “are you OK?” check-ins with them and giving them a healthy and safe way to express concerns and ask questions is paramount. Teach them that vulnerability is a strength not a weakness.
  • ROUTINE: Try to create a regular routine, even if it’s not exact school hours. The structure and the “normalcy” of a school type routine will help keep them calm and grounded over these next uncertain months. 
  • SPACE: Try to have a designated space for doing schoolwork. They associate that area with doing work and when they’re finished they can play and relax in a different space. It helps their brain signpost when to work, play, break, sleep etc. Plus, it keeps places like a bedroom a relaxing space rather than a workspace. 
  • FUN: Make learning fun! This is a fundamental key regardless of the coronavirus situation and is vital for learning to take place.
  • FORGET FORMAL ASSESSMENT: Unless your child is in Year 11 or 12, it’s not worth putting this extra, unnecessary pressure on your child. Let them explore, learn and be curious, without the weight of formal exams and assignments that will be marked and graded.
  • BE KIND: What you are doing as a parent/caregiver in terms of home schooling your child and working at the same time is an enormous task so practise self-care. Remember if you’re OK they’ll be OK. Now more than ever, they need to learn to be kind and compassionate to their fellow man.
  • THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX:  Even in a regular school setup, so much learning happens outside the classroom – so try to stay aware of a learning opportunity that might even happen when you’re in the car, out walking or gardening.
  • TELL THEM YOU LOVE THEM: Now more than ever, your kids need to know that you love them. Even when times are really, really stressful and you’re going to fight and potentially say things you don’t mean, and have very little space from each other, at the end of the day your love is unconditional and you’ll always be there for them no matter what.