Tips for Parents Teaching at Home
As Greater Sydney enters “at least" another two weeks of lockdown, that means another two weeks of home learning for students and flustered attempts at teaching for parents (if you know, you know.)
We spoke to some education experts at the University of Sydney about how to handle teaching and learning at home during the pandemic. Here’s what you need to know.
Go Easy on Your Child and Yourself
The bottom line that education experts want to drive home is that parents should approach learning at home gently, and not try to do everything a teacher might do in a classroom. (Cue, collective sigh of relief.)
Professor Debra Hayes, Head of the School of Education says that instead of forcing a child to engage in structured learning at home, parents should be open to allowing them to explore their own interests during a lockdown. She says “Encourage them to create and make things…Trust that kids can direct their own learning and pursue meaningful interests.”
Things to Remember
Lockdown and learning from home is basically a recipe for parents feeling as though all order has gone out of the window; especially if they’re also trying to work from home. Dr Nikki Brunker emphasises the importance of accepting that your children will have more screen time than usual, that there will be more mess than usual, that you will be using time-fillers like colouring-in and find-a-words more than usual, but that all of that is simply part and parcel of learning at home during a pandemic.
She also encourages parents to be realistic with their expectations and follow the cues of their children. One or two things per day might be enough for your child, while others might need more structure. As with all-things parenting; there’s no one size fits all approach.
8 Educational Expert-Recommended Things to do at Home
The experts have compiled this ultra-handy list of 8 activities to encourage kids to engage in their at-home learning. You’re welcome!
1. Visit a museum virtually with your child then ask them to set up a museum tour of their own to take you through later in the day/week.
2. Scatter interesting things around the house: pick up on an interest your child has and leave out resources for them to see and engage with to extend their interest, such as a couple of books on a topic they love or some art/craft resources.
3. Take lots of breaks: model stopping, stretching and staying calm with the frustrations that come with technology.
4. Try not to let the routine, schedules and 'school outcomes' add too much stress to your family's day. Juggling multiple children at home and parents' own work demands can be challenging.
5. Use break times to read or cook a recipe together and have discussions about seasonal growing, family/culture, measuring, liquids/solids, temperature and the like.
6. Connect with nature: although this is really hard at the moment, especially if you don't live close to green space, trying to get fresh air is important for everyone. If you are able and allowed to get outside as a family for exercise, don't let the weather stop you! When you are out and about pick up leaves, buds, seeds, sticks or rocks and bring them home to create a little collection of treasures.
7. Stay active: whether you go for a short walk, scoot around the block or put on some tunes and dance around the living room for 20 mins, it is important for children and young people to be active and step away from their devices.
8. Remember our teachers are under a lot of pressure to put these materials together quickly, so be patient with them, yourselves and your children.
Other Ways to Connect During Lockdown
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