It is still hard to believe that as a result of COVID 19 many students across the country (& world) are now navigating Learning @ Home in terms of continuing their schooling. Who knows how long this will go on, so it is important for students, parents and teachers, to continue to work together in partnership and support one another as this is new for us all. Let’s try and make this a positive experience for all and I wanted to share my 10 tips for students Learning @ Home!
In time there will be many positive things to come out of the use of technology for our students and their education as a result of this experience. For now though let’s focus on moving forward as best we can with the current set ups provided by our primary and secondary schools for all our children.
Here are my top 10 tips for students learning @ home:
- THIS IS THE NEW NORM (at least for now) – it is important for students to take on board that this is the new way of learning for now and therefore they need to adjust and shift their mindset towards this. There is no point focusing on the way it has been done until now but rather learn to adapt to the new approaches as best they can. Students need to continue to put in the same level of effort into their learning as they would if they were attending school in person.
- THIS IS LEARNING @ HOME AND NOT HOME SCHOOLING – this is such a key piece for everyone to understand there is a difference.
Learning @ Home is what we are currently faced with and it can be best described that students are continuing their learning, like they would be if they were at school, but now from home and using technology to communicate with their teachers instead of in person.
Home schooling is whereby a parent takes on the responsibility to prepare and teach lessons to their children that follow the necessary curriculum and do this at home by themselves with no school involvement.
- PLEASE TAKE NOTICE OF ALL COMMUNICATIONS – it is important for students (& parents) to keep on top of the communications coming from the school. I know in recent times there is a lot of communication to get one’s head around and read but it is important so everyone knows what is going on and how things are working. Sometimes that communication can be quite long and I encourage students to read through it rather than skim over and miss important details & information.
- BE A GOOD SELF ADVOCATE – this is something that is always important for students to adopt with their learning and even more so now that they are not in the physical classroom. Students should continue to ask questions and seek information when they don’t understand something, have trouble with online systems or uploading and submitting work – they can always still make a time or email their teacher.
- USE A PLANNING TOOL – now more than when a student is at school it is important they use a planning tool of some sort to ensure they keep note of what they need to do and by when they need to do it by. Ideally this will be some form of a diary or planner (paper or electronic or whiteboard based) or it could just be as simple as having a notepad or whiteboard on their desk (or at their workspace) which keeps record of what their priorities are each day. Students need to be able to see what work they have in order to be able to manage it otherwise it is out of site and out of mind.
- STICK TO ROUTINE – ideally schools will be following regular timetables for students (at least in secondary school) and it is important that students be engaged in this process and not skip lessons just because they are at home. Where schools don’t provide a set structure to follow it will be important for students (& parents) to put that structure in place ie 9-3pm just like school whereby students should complete all set work as well as study/revision (practice).
At the end of the day the onus is on individual students to do the right thing in order to stay on top of their work and not fall behind. If this is a struggle then I encourage students and parents to liaise with their teachers and school to let them know and seek input and advice.
- MONITOR THE WORKLOAD – there have been students expressing that they have more work now than when they were at school. This will be important to monitor and it might just be in peaks and troughs as per usual. However, if it appears to be consistent in nature and is causing stress and angst it is important this is communicated to teachers and schools.
- TAKE BREAKS – With the use of technology a student can be sitting for some time in front of a screen working away. This can see some students become tired and lacking in energy. Therefore, it is vital that students take the set breaks as a minimum and sometimes even get up and stretch before sitting down and continuing on with their learning and engaging their brain.
- KEEPING UP WITH STUDY/REVISION – many students are currently struggling with how they are going to be accessed, particularly those in Year 12. This is only natural that they are concerned but it shouldn’t mean they don’t keep doing it. It is highly advised they continue on as they would have it at school as it could have great consequences if they don’t. Students need to continue to be prepared for future assessments whether they be formal tests/exams, SACs (in Victoria), assignments or worksheets. Teachers estimations will also be important and could well make up a large component of a student’s mark.
- MENTAL HEALTH & WELLBEING – this has to be #1 even though it is last on my list. There are so many changes to student’s lives as a result of what is happening in the world right now and ensuring they are doing okay is vital. It is important to continue to ensure students are getting enough sleep, eating well, getting outside for some exercise and keeping in touch with family and friends. Encourage them to talk and make sure you check in with your child from time to time and not assume all is okay.
At the end of the day all we can do is to try the best we can to make this work. Learning is still occurring and students can still move forward & succeed.
I have expanded my services to help provide students with the extra support and resources they need right now to cope with learning @ home and have put together a one off hour long session for this purpose. To learn more about how academic life coaching can help your teen, click here or get in touch to have a chat.
I will continue to provide support to students & parents and encourage you to get your free 10 Tips for Learning @ Home.