Will Todd, Brodie Todd, Mirren Bryant and Lacey Preston, Charleville School of Distance Education Kickstart Conference 2019.
Will Todd, Brodie Todd, Mirren Bryant and Lacey Preston, Charleville School of Distance Education Kickstart Conference 2019.

Ask the experts: top tips for learning at home in COVID-19

TAKING on home schooling has been a new experience for many families during the coronavirus pandemic, and has presented its own challenges along the way for both students and their parents.

But there are some people who are experts in learning outside the classroom. Teachers at Charleville School of Distance Education teach students who live hundreds of kilometres from their school campus, so they know a thing or two about how to make the most of learning at home.

School principal Jenny Swadling, along with her team of educators, has offered some tips for those grappling with the new way of schooling based on their own experience.

While the advice can help with daily lessons, Ms Swadling said the most important thing for parents to know was help is out there for them.

"I cannot stress enough that parents need to be kind to themselves, understand this too shall pass, believe in themselves and seek support as they need it," she said.

"The difference for our parents and students from mainstream schools, while they are learning at home, is that they have been thrust into this with little choice, little preparation and with a bigger threat disrupting all of our lives, whereas our distance education parents have a choice."

With students set to continue learning at home until late May, the Charleville School of Distance Education has these handy tips:

• If possible, assign a designated work area.

• Make a visual timetable or chart of the schedule and rules. Kids can consult it as needed.

• Have regular breaks to keep their focus - physical activity is especially helpful to rest and re-energise the brain.

• Ask your teachers for ideas.

• Be understanding, patient and encouraging, recognise that change increases stress and fear.

• Acknowledge and explain about the stress you are all experiencing - labelling emotions helps release them and sets an example of how children can recognise and explain how they are feeling.

• Use positive recognition and rewards: "You were really productive"; "I liked the way you stayed focused and completed that activity"; "When you finish this, then you can do that for 10 minutes".

• If you are finding the child disengaged and you are feeling frustrated, it is sometimes better to take a break, walk away and find a space, do one of the less demanding activities.

Charleville Western Times


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