What can parents do to help children learn at home?

Date Posted:7 April 2020 

What can parents do to help children learn at home? main image What can parents do to help children learn at home? image
With schools transitioning to online learning due to the coronavirus, parents may face unique challenges in creating a home learning environment for children. We've done some research and put together some ideas to help our families!

 

As more schools move to online classes, you might now find yourself juggling between home-schooling your child while working from home.  This can be daunting especially if you have never done this before. This is new to many parents who are now stuck between work, caring for children, and ensuring that they are still learning effectively.

We have put together a few tips and tricks that you might find helpful to home-school your child:

1. Set up a learning space

For primary and high school children:1

Create a spot in the house that will help your child focus on their studies. There is no right way to create a learning space as each child has different ways of learning. Studying from home has an advantage in that it can cater to each child's individual needs. Help your child find the best spot where they are can focus and be safe, and there is no limit as to where the learning can take place.

For pre-schoolers:2

A learning space for them is a place where they can play safely. Unstructured, free play is the best way for young children to learn. If you have a backyard, let your child play and explore the natural environment. Nature play can reap many benefits such as problem-solving, risk assessment, and improved mental and physical health. Let their imagination run wild to fuel their creativity. You can be a part of your child's unstructured play too, if you choose to, and if they want you to join!

Young children can also benefit from unstructured indoor play with toys. Toys such as building blocks and threading strings can not only fuel your child's creativity but also improve their fine motor skills.

 

2. Create and keep to a routine

Children need structure and familiarity. Creating and keeping to a routine can help your child be more productive.

For primary and high school children:1

It is important to emphasise that this is not an extended holiday and that normal school continues, but from home. Schools have normal structured timetables, and the best way to create a routine is to stick to the normal school timetable. But do allow some flexibility in the schedule. Children grasp concepts and complete tasks at different rates, so some subjects might take longer than others. Keep checking in with your child to ensure that they are progressing and help them if they need assistance.

For pre-schoolers:3

Having a routine for young children can have long-term benefits — including increased skills and responsibilities, building healthy habits, and cultivating a sense of safety and belonging.

Keep to the normal daily routine you might already have in place. If your child used to attend child-care, try as much as possible to follow the schedule typically set for your child. It will create a safe, normal, and healthy environment for your child to continue to learn through play.

 

3. Facilitate and support child-led learning

For primary and high school children:1

Schools have most likely shifted to online learning and have provided learning materials for your child. At this point, you're more likely to be a facilitator than a replacement teacher. Be available to help your child when they need assistance but try to let them do things themselves whenever possible. You could look through state and territory curriculum documents to understand the outcomes of the work the schools assign your child. (NSWVICWASAACTNTTAS and QLD)

 

For pre-schoolers:4

Child-led play is good because children learn best when they're interested in an activity. When you follow your child's lead, you can facilitate their learning by taking advantage of the things that interest them to help them learn something new or build on a skill. You can start by noticing what your child is doing or playing, and ask if you could join in. If they stop playing with their current toy and move on to another, move to the other toy with them.

 

4. Let your child get bored

For primary and high school children:5

For younger school children, it is not advisable to keep them seated all day to study. Let them go on breaks to eat, play, and enjoy themselves. They'll eventually get bored and will want to move on to the learning they have been set. Boredom can be a great motivation to get started on homework or any other learning activities.

For pre-schoolers:6

If you're working from home and can't entertain your child 24/7, you might find that they can get a little bored. Instead of dropping your work to play with them, let your child work through it themselves. When your child can push through the boredom, it fuels their creativity and imaginative capacity and builds their problem-solving skills. They will learn the necessary skills needed to deal with slightly stressful situations while building on their independence and resilience.

 

Learning should be fun!

By encouraging your child to self-regulate their learning, you are allowing them to take ownership of their studies and gain independence. It is still important for you to ensure that they are progressing in their learning and hold them accountable.

But don't forget that learning should be fun! You can encourage your child to draw, bake, paint, or go out to the garden. Take this opportunity to spend some time with your child — whether it is talking about school or playtime in the garden!

 

 

References

1. Roy, D. Trying to homeschool because of coronavirus? Here are 5 tips to help your child learn. (Link)

2. Raising Children Network. Why is Play Important? (Link)

3. Raising Children Network. Family Routines: how and why they work (Link)

4. Raising Children Network. Letting your child lead play: activities for children 0-6 years. (Link)

5. Ferguson, D. 'Let your kids get bored': emergency advice from teachers on schooling at home. (Link)

6. Raising Children Network. Boredom: how it helps children's play and development. (Link)

 

 

 

 


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