School’s in! – learning from home during lockdown
Tomorrow is the start of the second term of the school year – a term that is looking unlike any other we have seen. The Ministry of Education has been working quickly to introduce a package of options to ensure that all students can learn at home, these include:
- Increasing the number of students who have internet access and devices
- Delivering hard copy packs of materials for different year levels
- Funding two television channels to broadcast education-related content – one for English medium and one for Māori medium, including content that is targeted to Pacific and other communities. These channels start broadcasting from 9am Wednesday 15 April
- More online resources for parents, available through the Learning from Home and Ki te Ao Mārama websites, and fast-tracking ways to connect Learning Support Coordinators with families remotely
Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau keep their children engaged in learning through play.
While the school holidays have given families the chance to enjoy ‘bubble time’ the recommencement of school will place additional pressure on parents, especially those who are working from home.
How can we make schooling from home a success?
- Create a timetable – all children find security in knowing what to expect so give them some structure in their day. If you share care of your children, make sure to share this timetable with the other parent and be understanding if they need to adjust it to suit their circumstances.
- Remember too, you are not expected to replicate a school day at home! Routine is important in these times, but with some flexibility. Don’t battle and create additional stress at home. If something is causing too much stress, stop the task and do something different! Even if that is lego building/ playing with the cat or something else not in the curriculum.
- If you are working from home, use online programmes that your child is already familiar with when you are busy so that they are more likely to be able to work independently.
- Ensure the other parent has all logins and passwords for online programmes your children may need for schoolwork ie Reading Eggs, Mathletics, Google Docs.
- Make sure you include fitness in their day! Nothing helps focus kids or stops them squabbling more than a run around outside.
- For many children the best part of school is the chance to see their friends – so try to keep their social connections active – Facetime playdates, Zoom calls or playing online games with their friends can help them feel connected and part of the world outside their bubble.
- Remember that education goes beyond school curriculums – children learn through ordinary things too: cook together, teach your children how to play cards, draughts, chess, Connect-four, Scrabble, Monopoly or charades.
For younger children who can’t work independently, the aim of schooling from home is to maintain their learning, not teach them new concepts. You aren’t expected to take on the role of teacher during this time, so try not to place that expectation on yourself or the other parent.
Remember to look after yourself during this time too – eat well, exercise and keep in contact with family and friends. And enjoy not having to do the school run!
He waka eke noa – we’re all in this together.