Getting Ready For Remote Learning
The most important thing for parents to remember is that schools are not expecting you to be the teacher. Teachers will run online lessons and set work to be completed. Work will be checked and marked by teachers just as they would normally. The parent's role is to help provide a space within the home where children can join online lessons and complete their work.
When setting up at home so your children can complete their school work, the following might help:
The main aim is to create an environment that has some similarity to school so that children understand that this is still school time. Saying this, this is also a great time to play to children’s strengths and alter their day in a way that best suits them (and you!).
Compromise and be flexible. Your children may also be feeling anxious and behave in ways you don’t expect. Like you, they will have good days and bad days. Some days they will work as you want, others they will dig in their heels and refuse. Try to stay calm and be patient and try physical activities that they are more likely to engage with.
It's ok to take lots of breaks and to work in short spans of time if that's what works for your child.
Setting Up The Environment
- Designate an area in your home that can be set up as your “school.” – quiet, well-lit and private. This could just be the kitchen table where a number of children can be working, or you might prefer to have each child at a desk in the bedroom - As long as it works well for you and your children.
- Limit chances of distractions and interruptions. This includes turning off the TV and not playing any music, especially for subjects that are more intensive. Some activities can be well suited to the music playing in the background, especially less intensive subjects that they might do in the afternoon. The effect is to try to recreate some similarity to their classroom, so they understand that this is now “school time.”
- If students are using an IPad, turn on “aeroplane mode” and disable notifications.
- Provide adequate supplies, such as pens and paper. Primary years children might need to have some additional supplies, such as Lego blocks, to makes math more meaningful. Cue cards can be great for spelling activities but more on this in another post.
- Provide “recess” and “lunchtime” breaks! This is a great time to go outside and play with the family dog, go for a walk or bike ride etc. The main aim here is to eat, drink and do something physical.
Manage School Time
- Establish a routine to help establish good habits. Your school has likely created a schedule of class-based activities which they must log in to. The other times during the day present a great opportunity for them to pursue what they love the most. For example, a child who loves to write might enjoy the chance to write with unrestricted time.
- Just make sure to factor in time to work on what they don’t love, just as they would at school!! This includes working independently to complete school set tasks
- Some children work best with shorter spans of work time so factor in frequent short breaks (probably no more than 5 mins). Others like to work for extended periods of time, with fewer and longer breaks. There is no one right way to do this. The right way is what works best for your child.
- Stay close to them and be available to help.
- Help create an atmosphere of study – this could also be your work time. Teachers frequently ask children to focus on a task unassisted for a while, before checking in and helping.
- Ask: “What could you do if you get stuck?” The answer does NOT always ask you!! Has the school provided videos they can view? Are there information sheets and has the student read these and understands them? The school’s online portal will have many associated resources to help the students so point to these to help them become independent learners.
- Be kind to yourself – you are not expected to know all the answers! Remember, you are not the teacher.
- At the end of the day ask your children what they liked. Repeat and build on this the next day. You don’t really need to ask what they don’t like as I’m sure you have figured that out already throughout the day!! This is about focusing on the positives of this new experience, no matter how small it seems.
- Discuss and praise good work and behaviours. Use terms like “I really loved the way you did/said/wrote….”
- Show interest in what they are doing. Your children will love showing you what they can do!
- Share and discuss books, articles, TV programs, or even TED talks relevant to their schoolwork. Are there normal daily activities that you can link to their schoolwork? We are surrounded by opportunities to learn Math, Science and English related concepts. More on this in later posts.
- Stay in touch with the teachers and seek their help if needed.
- Contact the teacher if problems arise that you are unable to solve.
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