Tips for Homeschooling During the Pandemic

11 July 2021. This date falls at the point where families in Sydney have spent the 2 week school holiday period in lockdown following a recent outbreak of a particularly infectious strain of COVID-19. The date also marks the beginning of at least one week of home-schooling for students across Sydney while families remain at home and Term 3 commences.

We wanted to acknowledge your resilience and positive approach when embracing school holidays in lockdown. We appreciate that our families have mixed emotions for the week ahead and we thought it might be helpful to share our top tips for surviving and thriving during remote learning.

 

  • Structure and Routine

As children and young adolescents are thrown out of routine it is important to create structure and routine where possible. There will be opportunities to maintain daily and evening routines. I like to call this ‘bookends for your day’. If you usually have peanut butter on toast for breakfast, shower and get dressed, keep that familiar routine in place. Although school uniform may not be required, getting dressed will help your child to switch into ‘school mode’ and promote learning.  We encourage you to also keep your evening routine as similar as possible with bedtimes remaining the same. The last thing you want is a sleep-deprived child in lockdown.

 

  • Mental Fatigue vs Physical Fatigue
We have all experienced the mental fatigue caused from looking at a computer for a prolonged period of the day, never mind looking at ourselves over Zoom all day! Focusing on thoughts like ‘Is that what I really look like?’ can mentally fatigue us in a way that classroom learning doesn’t. At school there are opportunities for table top activities, movement breaks, recess, exercise and fresh air. Where possible encourage your child to have time away from the screen when it is not required. To promote a good night’s sleep your child will need to be physically and mentally tired

 

  • Social Time

We have seen many children express their disappointment during the recent school holidays. Plans have been cancelled and they are likely to be missing their friends. Encourage your child to reach out to their friends, give them a phone call or video call. Planning the next playdate or social event for after lockdown will give your child something to look forward to.

 

  • Be mindful of and possibly lower your expectations

This tip is for all our dedicated parents and carers! We want you to remember that you are not your child’s class teacher. Even if that is your day job, you are not expected to be your child’s teacher. You may be trying to work from home yourself too. Your child may not be able to complete the amount of work they usually do at school and that is okay. They may not understand all the topics and may be asking you questions you have no idea how to answer – and this is OK too! Take the pressure off yourself and most importantly be kind to yourself. At the end of this experience, you will again take with you memories of this unique time in your life. Ask yourself what kind of memories you would like yourself and your children to have.

 

  • Create a schoolwork zone

A dedicated space, if possible, with minimal distractions will support your child’s attention and focus. Keep it simple. A kids chair, a lap tray or desk, paper, pencils and maybe a fidget toy! This will reinforce the difference between school work and play time.

 

  • Don’t forget lunch

This is a great time to step out of the ‘school/work zone’ and get some fresh air and restock everyone’s energy levels for the afternoon – yours included! For children who thrive on routine, you can even replicate the typical packed lunch. For parents working from home, this is a good opportunity to reflect on the morning, provide praise for your child’s progress and get organised for the afternoon.

 

  • After school club

Many children would usually access an after school club. You may be tied up in meetings until 5pm, while your child finishes at 3pm. Being prepared with a list of ‘after school activities’ will help your child engage in independent play until you are finished for the day.

 

  • Reflection

We have been here before, we can learn so much from the last time we were in lockdown. Take the time to think back about what worked well last time for you and your child during remote learning. Every family is unique and will have their own barriers and challenges. Although we are sharing our top tips, we want you to remember that you are the expert of your child. Take these ideas, be inspired and do what works well for you and your family.

 

We wish you all the best in this coming week and we look forward to seeing you online or face-to-face in the next few weeks.

All the best, the SCP Team