Remote Learning Ideas

Setting up for Success - Five Ideas that will Help you Home-school

Are you already pulling out your hair trying to juggle work, keeping the house tidy, looking after the family, and now home-schooling as well? It seems COVID-19 and physical distancing are providing us with new challenges each day. A few days into remote learning here in Victoria, and it’s already clear that this new challenge is a doozy.

We reached out to our friends, teachers, parents and staff for their ideas to help you get set up to successfully teach your kids from home.

1. Have Realistic Expectations

However much work you think you’re going to get done. However much you think your kids will learn. Throw it out the window. For a child in grades 3-5 and learning remotely you can expect between 1-2 hours of work each day, with attention staying focused on one subject for a maximum of 10-15 minutes.

Neither you or your children will be able to do a full 6-8 hour day of work, so keep that in mind as you set goals and try not to be too hard on yourself or the kids if you struggle to meet them.

2. Set a schedule and follow it as best you can

Creating a routine was one of our tips in our Staying Positive During a Pandemic article, and it’s so important that we’ve included it again here. Plan out your days in advance with blocks for study, exercise and meal breaks.

To get the most out of your schedule:

  • Plan for short study periods, keeping in mind your child’s attention span and ability to focus.
  • Prepare your regular lunch box (for you and the kids) with snacks and drinks, so that you aren’t caught out spending time making meals during the day.
  • Get dressed for school (and work). For younger kids, encourage them to wear their school uniform. Wearing the right clothes can go a long way to putting a person in the right mindset.
  • Start with the tricky stuff – organise your schedule so that the more difficult or less motivating activities happen in the morning when concentration is at its best.
  • Match your schedule to theirs – identify which tasks are going to need supervision, and which can be done independently, then plan your own work around those times you aren’t needed as much. Make it clear to everyone that this is ‘working’ time.
  • Set a ‘bell’ alarm on your phone for primary break/meal times. This can help everyone to stay on track throughout the day.

Kids are accustomed to following a schedule at school, so this can help bring some much-needed normalcy to their lives. You may even like to put together a picture board/visual daily plan, with images for each activity placed in order of the day’s schedule. This can help kids to understand what’s happening now, and what will come next.

3. Involve the child in the development of their learning goals

Every child is different, with their own motivations and needs. Work with your child’s own strengths and interests to plan out goals and activities that suit them. If they’re old enough, get them engaged in the discussion and take this as an opportunity to better understand how your child thinks and learns.

For younger children, create simple choice cards with different activities (that may have a similar learning outcome) and allow them to pick which task they would prefer to do. You can then place it on your visual schedule.

4. Alternate between physical/outdoor activities and academic/tabletop activities

Sitting still for too long isn’t good for any of us. Even working adults are recommended to stand and stretch every 30 minutes. Set up your schedule to make the most of this, breaking up tabletop study sessions with more active, movement-based games and challenges.

Keep in mind that in a typical day at school, teachers will often involve kids in various classroom-based physical activities as well as taking them out for sport or exercise. Simple games you can play inside include passing a bean bag or Simon Says. Outside you can set up stations for different exercises and practice a variety of different skills (from rolling to kicking and throwing) with just a ball.

5. Take advantage of opportunities for incidental learning

Learning can happen anywhere! Children are like a sponge, constantly analysing and investigating their environment as they absorb new information. This means you are constantly being provided with opportunities to support and teach your child. Notice them hearing a word in a different language on TV? Have a chat to them about what that word means, and the country it’s from. Notice that they’re trying to read the words on the cereal box? Turn it into a game where you read the words together.

Be generous with your encouragement and positivity. Any time you notice a good deed, or a positive behaviour, be quick to recognise it and let them know it’s appreciated. A little bit of kindness goes a long way, especially during these difficult times.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted all of us, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. If you need help during this period, please reach out to either your support network, or us here at Irabina for guidance and understanding. We are all here for you and your family.

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