With the majority of Australian school kids now being schooled at home for the very first time due to Coronavirus social distancing or schools closing, we asked one of Australia’s biggest homeschooling programs for some tips and tricks to help our Aussie mums out in these changing – and challenging- times! Over to you, Ellen Brown, Director of Complete Education Australia
We’ve been flooded with calls from stressed parents who who are looking at homeschooling for the first time out of necessity. So we decided to put pen to paper and give you our tips to creating a positive and successful homeschooling experience.
We’ve been in the business for many, many years but we’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve spoken to so many parents over the last few days who’ve been reduced to tears, feeling stressed and out of their depth.
One of the main things to remember is that you have choices
For some, the Department or School resources will work well, for others a more individualised or flexible approach where their child can work at their own pace will be needed.
Even before the onset of COVID0-19, 1 in 200 Australian children were registered for home-school. It’s an area that just keeps growing as parents face challenges like bullying, depression, learning disorders and gifted kids that are held back, just to name a few.
One of our parents Nicholas says “My eldest daughter doing year 9 LOVES the electives, she didn’t have that option when she went to school”
Here are our Top 9 tips for parents new to homeschooling
TIP 1 – Keep calm and establish a routine so your kids know what to expect
Our first goal is to reassure parents not to be worried about their capability to homeschool. They have been homeschooling their children since the kids were born. You’ve got this!
Getting on the front foot and establishing a routine is really important. Whether you are using online resources from your school, or homeschooling resources from a homeschool provider, it’s crucial to get into a routine fast and set expectations
TIP 2 – Plan out each day
Have a daily plan on the fridge and set a consistent start time. As without a start time screens can gobble up the hours
Spend time with the kids writing a weekly timetable and get them to add their own ideas.
Include fun activities as kids become irritable without hands-on activities. An example timetable could include 2 subjects a day: Monday: Maths, English, Art, Tuesday: Maths, English, Science and so on.
TIP 3 – Be flexible and if kids finish early celebrate – days do not have to be 9am-3pm if your kids are fast in their work
We cannot speak for the online programs that the schools will be rolling out, but with many homeschool programs such as ours we encourage students to go at their own pace, many of our parents tell us that their kids are really motivated and finish early, having completed all their work for the day.
TIP 4 – Don’t Panic about your child falling behind
Many of the parents I’ve been speaking to are worried that their kids will fall behind, with everyone in the same boat. Please be reassured that it will be alright. Schools are working hard to provide the lessons required. You also have the option of a dedicated homeschool provider. Studies have shown that homeschoolers average 70 points higher on NAPLAN than kids who attend schools.
Not only that, you can actually take advantage of the time. This is an amazing opportunity to give their kids extra revision to catch up, or extension to move ahead. They can spend time working on areas they are passionate about. Spending the afternoon completing an Art or Science project is so satisfying. They can actually return to school with confidence.
TIP 5 – Keep the kids motivated and inject the fun
Add fun activities into the day like cooking lessons to lunchtime. Meals can be part of the fun of the day.
Also celebrate their wins and completion of work for the day. Just a few celebrations can make the world of difference.
Allowing them flexibility in their ‘school’ day will also help, as long as their work is completed.
TIP 6 – Add in breaks for fun and socialising
It’s hard for kids to be suddenly cooped up and away from their friends so add in online or phone social breaks so they can contact their friends and feel connected.”
Also try hands on activities and experiments as a planned activity to keep things fun and positive.
TIP 7 – Don’t stress that you have to be their teacher – you are just a guide using the tools provided to you
Having a lesson focus and plan allows parents to simply become the co-learners, not the teacher.
If you use a recognised homeschooling program service, they should have teachers ready to help and guide you. If you are using your schools resources, the school will likely organise a teacher to be available online and you can also join your school community groups to get advice from others in this situation.
TIP 8 – Community Support
Help each other.
In times like these we need to help each other and to ask for help from those who have done it before and made all the mistakes already. There are many community Facebook groups that have a resource to parents who need support, resources and tips from teachers.
TIP 9 – Don’t put too much pressure on yourself
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Kids are all individuals and they all have different ways of learning and sometimes one size does not fit all.
At the end of the day the most important thing is that your kids have covered the curriculum and have the evidence to show the department of education. This is the case for both schools and homeschool providers. Happy Learning!
About Complete Education Australia
Complete Education Australia are one of the largest Homeschool Providers in Australia, our curriculum is approved by the Education Department in every state and a recognised pathway to Australian Universities.
With our homeschool programs, You don’t need any teaching skills as everything is provided and we have teachers ready if you need help.
We’re also now giving away a FREE WEEK of our homeschool curriculum for all grades on our website. They have tons of fun, creative and educational things to do and learn to keep the kids busy and off their screens.
Ellen Brown is the Director of Complete Education Australia
Facebook Parent Support Group: Schooling from Home Australia – Curriculum & Parent Support Complete Education Website – with Free Week download: completeeducationaustralia.com.au Follow the Complete Education Facebook Page here: Facebook.com/pg/CompleteEducationAustralia