With Australian schools effectively shutting down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, education departments across the country have been scaling up their online learning resources to accommodate kids learning at home.
Like most of you, the Hancock Creative team has spent the past few weeks trying to figure out ways to work from home while setting up home learning areas for the kids and creating space for partners who have also been sent home to work.
If social media feeds are anything to go by, you feel our pain.
Last week in particular, social media lit up with posts from parents looking for ideas for surviving weeks at home with their kids.
With no clear timeframe of when this might end, we were all left wondering how will I keep my kids entertained and up-to-date on their schoolwork — and get my work done?
Luckily the Hancock Creative family is used to working flexibly around our families so our internal chats quickly moved to sharing resources and ideas to help us work out a new normal!
So, if you’re at home with kids, pets, partners and extended family and are worried about how you’re going to keep up with your work, home schooling, parenting, chores, shopping and everything else – here are some of our best tips for making it work.
Give Yourself Time
A lot of kids – and parents – are feeling stressed about having their days turned upside down and inside out.
With so much news and information circulating at the moment, you can expect things to be a little rough at home for a while longer as we settle into finding our feet.
If you don’t have your routine perfected by the end of week one, don’t be too hard on yourself!
Lower your expectations and prepare for rocky times ahead. A ‘take it as it comes attitude’ will help you keep your cool when things aren’t going your way.
Take a deep breath and count to five before even thinking about answering those maths questions …
Know What’s Coming
Kids follow a timetable at school for a reason. Life is harder if we don’t know what’s coming next!
Once you’ve got s schedule or routine that works for you – stick with it.
Here’s how it works in my house: We start the day by getting dressed and making beds, then we meet in the kitchen to prepare breakfast and clean-up. After that we look at the online learning options – I have two boys in high school and one in primary school and they set the tasks they want to finish across the day and agree to a time when they’ll upload completed work to the online portal. After that we make a plan about when to slot in breaks and physical activities to break the boredom.
From here, my kids head outside to play and I tackle emails, answer any online chats or start on a project.
After 30 minutes, everyone comes inside and the kids get started on their schoolwork and I crack on with work. We do hourly check-ins until lunch.
The kids take turns in getting lunch ready after which, we have quiet time which can be reading, resting or getting on with independent learning like watching educational videos. I keep working during this time.
By early-afternoon, we’re done with “school work” and the kids head to the backyard for outside play. I admit we have a huge backyard so the kids have heaps of room to play – they can ride their bikes and have even set up a circuit so they can take it turns and time each other.
Because the weather is still amazing there is no resistance to spending time outside at the moment so it gives me more quiet time to work!
Do What Works For You
Working around your kids and being available to help them with school work is hard.
The only way we’re managing is by reminding each other we’re all in this together and committing to finding new ways to make it work.
For example, not every day will be the same so I’ve thrown out the 9 to 5 work day mentality.
Some days, I have to get some work done when the kids are sleeping. Other days my husband and I split things up and tag team so we can each have ‘focus’ time. We split up supervising the kids’ schoolwork by playing to our strengths – I take humanities while my husband tackles science and math.
Less Is More
Kids don’t spend seven hours a day at their desk ‘learning’ – so don’t feel pressured to do this at home!
If your teachers have issued instructions or spent time creating online resources by all means use them but don’t stress if you don’t.
Your children will learn new things while they’re at home with you – just do the basics, read and spend a lot of time outside if you can. Play games. Cook together. Talk more.
Here’s some ideas, tips and links from our team to help you through this time:
Kate’s Top Tips for Primary-aged Kids
- Set kids up with their own space that stays the same each day
- Get them headphones!
- Don’t stress about doing it all. Maths and English are the most important. Even if you just do those!
- Kids know more than they lead you to believe. Have them show you how the teachers have told them they will communicate with them or what they need to be doing.
- Children can be problem solvers. They can email or communicate with their teacher if they don’t understand something or if things are not going to plan. This builds resilience.
Anna’s Top Tips for Kids at High School
- Follow your standard timetable
- Log in to classes at the right time and teachers will be posting information on what to do
- Don’t stress if you can’t get to it all or if they are having trouble, teachers are still there to help them – and at the end of the day we are all in this together, we will get through it together and no child will be penalised if they have trouble with something and haven’t got through all the learning
WA Education Department – Learning at Home
Amazon – Audible
Last week, Amazon announced it had cancelled subscription of books and audio stories for children and students of all ages. Now all stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet!