The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the ‘classroom’ to evolve. Schedules and study spaces have been shared on social media and teachers have created interactive online classes, but for many parents the question remains – in the face of continued uncertainty, how can we ensure that our children continue to get the best education possible?
There is no doubt that online (from home) learning difficulties come at scale. Senior Lecturer for the College of Education, Psychology & Social Work at Flinders University, Dr Leigh Burrows, says there are two areas to get your head around – the content and the technology. Of course, in addition to this there are also issues surrounding computer and internet access, program compatibility, student ability and, importantly, the competence of parents.
So, if you’ve decided to keep your child home, familiarising yourself with this new ‘space’ will be essential to their learning. Here are a few tips to help guide you and your child during this time.
Customise Your Schedule
Trying to navigate a timetable will be exhausting at first, but you and your children will settle into a new routine eventually.
Part owner of Kids in Adelaide and primary school teacher Fleur Kennedy says when trying to schedule school days at home it’s important to remember that a school classroom can have up to 32 children in it with just one teacher. “You are going to get through work much more quickly at home 1:1 with your child. Be mindful of this when you are organising your schedules”.
Organise Your Day
Fleur suggests packing a lunch box each day – not only will this help your child maintain a routine but it will also stop them from asking for a snack every five minutes! It’s also important to dedicate time for relaxation and mindfulness, and to ensure you include some sort of physical activity into the daily program. Fleur recommends trying to add it in every 20-30 minutes for primary aged children to help them remain productive and calm.
Make It Fun
Another way to get the most out of your child’s online learning is to make it fun. It’s important that both parents and kids find something that they want to learn. For example, if there is a maths task that is related to measurement — why not measure through cooking or making something out of wood? Using the core concepts of online learning and applying them to a task by drawing on your hobbies or strengths is a great way to keep kids interested.
Create a Positive Learning Environment
“In order to create a positive learning environment in the home, you actually have to BE positive. If you walk around huffing and puffing and feeling stressed, then guess what? It’s going to be a bad day,” says Fleur.
It’s important to create an environment that children are comfortable working in. Some tips include using a chair with a comfortable cushion and a back rest to help kids sit upright, when working on computers ensure kids are sitting with their feet well supported on the floor, and avoid as much clutter as you can. Kids can become easily distracted, so only place the items that they need on their desk.
Make it Interactive
There are plenty of great, free online resources available to keep your kids entertained and curious. Kids in Adelaide is one of many organisations sharing interactive educational resources for school children. From Instagram Live & IGTV sessions with Warrawong Sanctuary and Wilbur’s Wildlife, Mickster the Magician and science experiments with Simon, there are plenty of online resources for your little learner.
Navigating this time is difficult, so nurturing your own wellbeing as adults, being compassionate towards yourself and your kids by not overdoing it, and not letting it become a struggle is also important.
Words: Alyssa Cairo