Listen: Dr Selina Samuels' tips on setting up for home schooling
In the last week many parents have pulled their kids out of school to help slow the spread of COVID-19, in response to the Premier’s request. For many parents, diving head-first into home schooling will feel daunting – but it is possible to set up an effective learning environment at home.
Parents’ main objective at this time should be to keep the schooling momentum going, according to Dr Selina Samuels from Cluey Learning, provider of online tutoring and resources to thousands of families around Australia.
“We don’t know how long [the pandemic] is going to last, and we have to maintain the consistency of kids’ education,” Dr Samuels said. “We don’t want a situation where those fundamental literacy and numeracy skills are so disrupted that kids have to make up a lot of ground later.”
Setting up for remote learning is important, and Selina suggests it begins with keeping the day structured.
Structure Your Childrens’ Day and Their Space
“You need to keep a structure that is as much like school as possible,” said Dr Samuels. “Start at the same time as kids would normally start… with the attitude that this isn’t a holiday, it’s working space and time.
“Keep the spaces as delineated as you can. Lots of families are going to be using the kitchen table of course – and Mum and Dad are going to be working from the kitchen table too – but keep the breakfast debris away, and create a space and attitude that is about learning.”
If you have a child in high school or approaching their HSC, Selina says it will be important to know what assessments they have to focus on.
“The older students are probably going to be more self-directed than the younger ones, and more focused, but they’re going to need more nurturing,” she said. “It’s sort of counter-intuitive… but make yourself familiar with the tasks that your kids are doing [for] their assessments, and communicate with the teachers if that’s possible.
“Given that kids won’t be going out, they’ll actually have more time to study, and I think that’s going to be very [beneficial].”
Through the coming months Selina also encourages parents to, “look for support”.
“They don’t have to feel they’re doing this on their own, because they’re all in the same boat… There’s lots or resources out there, and [parents’] real challenge isn’t to create the resources, but to make sure students know what to do with it.”
How to Structure a Day of At-Home Learning:
– Keep the routine as normal as possible, from getting dressed to having breakfast and preparing for the lessons ahead.
– Where possible, have a designated work space clear of regular clutter.
– Mix up learning time between online screen time, and practical hands-on tasks.
– If your kids are watching a lesson online, make them do something with it afterwards: write a short story, or essay, or draw their response – instead of passively consuming it.
- For more free guidance from Dr Selina Samuels on learning at home visit Cluey Learning.
- Find more timetable, schedule and lesson ideas at our @ Home School Schedules page.