Guide to home ed­u­ca­tion

What steps can par­ents take to make learn­ing on­line as stress-free and en­joy­able as pos­si­ble — for ev­ery­one in the home

Herald Sun - - ONLINE LEARNING - EX­TRA­OR­DI­NARY PAR­ENT­ING: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO PAR­ENT­ING AND ED­U­CAT­ING AT HOME, BY ELOISE RICK­MAN IS PUB­LISHED BY SCRIBE ON MAY 19, RRP: $22.99

SCHOOLS re­main closed for most stu­dents across Vic­to­ria and par­ents con­tinue to sup­port their chil­dren as they ad­just to learn­ing at home.

Here, Eloise Rick­man, au­thor of Ex­tra­or­di­nary Par­ent­ing: The Essential Guide to Par­ent­ing and Ed­u­cat­ing at Home, shares her tips for mak­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence as pain-free and as plea­sur­able as pos­si­ble.

TIP 1

Re­la­tion­ships that fos­ter a strong sense of emo­tional sta­bil­ity are im­por­tant to build a young per­son’s re­silience and flex­i­bil­ity to re­spond to change.

“Chil­dren rely on par­ents to pro­vide a strong emo­tional base at home — that’s more im­por­tant than sit­ting down and do­ing end­less work­sheets with them,” Ms Rick­man says.

TIP 2

Cre­ate a fam­ily rhythm — a sched­ule or rou­tine, but not some­thing rigid.

“Rhythm is about en­sur­ing days have a pre­dictable flow to them. In school, chil­dren are used to hav­ing struc­ture in the day so not hav­ing that can be chal­leng­ing.

“Younger chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar may not un­der­stand why they can’t see their teach­ers.

“Cre­at­ing a sense of new normal so they feel some pre­dictabil­ity in an un­cer­tain time is im­por­tant.”

Punc­tu­ate the week with things like eat­ing lunch to­gether at a cer­tain time, mak­ing pan­cakes to­gether on a Sun­day morn­ing, or go­ing for a fam­ily walk at the end of the day.

TIP 3

Don’t try and repli­cate the tra­di­tional school day. “You don’t have to su­per­vise your kids to do six or seven hours of lessons every day,” Ms Rick­man says.

“Step back and en­cour­age them to find new ways of learn­ing what they are in­ter­ested in.

“If you have a high school stu­dent in­ter­ested in me­chan­ics, this is the time for them to tinker with a car. If they are in­ter­ested in pho­tog­ra­phy, give them time to ex­plore with a cam­era.”

TIP 4

If your teenager is work­ing and study­ing hard to com­plete as­sign­ments and pre­pare for ex­ams, en­sure there is some de­lin­eation be­tween work time and time to switch off.

TIP 5

En­cour­age older sib­lings to men­tor and sup­port younger sib­lings with their school work. “When they teach some­thing to a younger brother or sis­ter it also strength­ens their own un­der­stand­ing of that topic,” Ms Rick­man says.

TIP 6

If you are work­ing from home, show your chil­dren what you do dur­ing the day at work.

“My hus­band is a re­searcher at a univer­sity and he uses a lot of com­puter pro­gram­ming.

“My young daugh­ter wanted to know what Daddy did so he’s been show­ing her some ba­sic bits of code.

“Teach your child a lit­tle of what you do at work and they can teach you what they are learn­ing,” Ms Rick­man sug­gests.

TIP 7

Look at the ba­sics — if your child has to do a lot of desk work, are they sit­ting com­fort­ably in a calm place where they can fo­cus?

Have a bowl of fruit and some healthy snacks close to hand, so they can eat some­thing nu­tri­tious dur­ing breaks and re­fill drink bot­tles reg­u­larly so they stay well hy­drated.

Eloise Rick­man

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