After viewing the amount of stressed home-schooling social media updates over the past couple of days, I thought now more than ever is the perfect time to lean on and learn from the Teachers within our community.
A massive thank you to Ash & Jen, for their contribution to this one.
I hope this helps any parent struggling or feeling a little stressed about being a school teacher right now.
*Spoiler alert, you’re not a School Teacher, and you're not expected to be.
Advice to parents home-schooling their child/children right now.
By Ash Woods
Ensure you have set a location in the house that is a practical place for children to complete their work.
If your child is younger or has learning difficulties, a visible and set out daily routine helps them to remain focused. You can also get them to wear their school uniforms to help with understanding.
If you cannot access online materials consider collecting offline materials from your school and if this is not a possibility I have attached some excellent free resources you can access. They can also do "real life" math activities such as measuring, counting, sorting and problem solving – and cooking covers many of these areas.
All schools should have some kind of offline learning material offered to parents.
One of the most important things is to keep calm and be patient. If you are stressed, your kids will notice and will follow suit!
Learning expectations while learning at home is much shorter than at school because we normally have 20-28 students in each classroom with one teacher. So 2-3 hours of learning at home each day will suffice.
The ability to focus on learning tasks is very different for each child depending on their age and learning ability;
If your child is struggling to read, spell words or find the answer don’t get angry or upset. Help the child through by showing them how you do it then do it together then let them have a go by themselves and give praise for having a go. This could be as simple as a high five or verbal acknowledgment. You can also give incentives such as sticker charts or rewards for when they finish their tasks.
Schools are currently experiencing extreme difficulties with uploading and distributing online materials. Our technical experts are currently looking into this problem and we expect to see this up and running and working more effectively soon. Teachers will be answering your emails as soon as they can. This is also challenging at the moment as they may be supervising students at the time, or responding to other parents, so please keep this in mind in regards to expected response time.
5 weeks of no schooling is not going to jeopardise your child’s future. A recent article came out about a girl who was in the world war and they could not go to school for 4 years. She now has 2 degrees and a PHD. Children learn from us with everything we do! Get them cooking, gardening and sorting and most of all spend your 5 weeks having fun with your children. They pick up every emotion you show!
Your kindness, respect and genuine efforts to work with your school in this unique and ever-changing environment is appreciated.
Yours in education,
I asked Jen, another member of our community a few questions. See her answers below.
Mandi: Should it be a full school day?
Jen: Definitely not a full school day. Teachers usually divide their time between 20+ students so you should be able to cover this work with 1 child in 2-3 hours.
Mandi: How often should we take breaks?
Jen: Breaks are really helpful and will vary depending on your child’s age. P-2 kids break every 20 minutes. Years 3-6 every 30-40 minutes. Each child is different though, so gauge depending on their focus. It doesn’t have to be a massive deal, you don’t even have to leave the room; google brain break ideas for quick simple activities or ‘GoNoodle’ has heaps. At school the kids are used to having fruit break and lunch in a 3 hr period, so they don’t need to be snacking all day.
Mandi: What if I have more than one child? How do I balance my time?
Jen: If you have more than one child, start with the eldest and get them set up. Most learning should be quite independent, so getting the older kids set up first will free up your time for the younger ones. Set expectations around Q&A time to reduce interruptions. i.e. all non-task related questions can wait til break time or If you need help raise your hand.
Mandi: Anything else you would like to add?
Jen: Have a plan but be prepared to be flexible. Kids have good days and bad days just like us. So we need to cater to them.
If you can, use different spaces of your home for different tasks just like we would at school. Floor time for stories, outside for science or PE etc. Don’t get stuck at the dining table or in the office.
Finally, this is an amazing opportunity for you to model patience and resilience. When technology isn’t working how do you react? When you are frustrated or finding something difficult what do you say? Kids feed off our feelings and emotions. I know it is incredibly difficult during a highly stressful time, but there is always plenty of life lessons embedded through learning at school, so it can be home too.
I hope this helps, at least one stressed-out Mumma.
Please remember to take the positives from this situation. We are so lucky to spend more time with our beautiful kids and teach them what we can from home.