Strategies For Successful Home Learning
Authors: Rebecca Parkyn, Charlotte Reid & Jayne Mills.
22nd January 2021.
The current lockdown brings with it another period of learning from home for many of our pupils. Although this is not the first time we've all been through this scenario, adjusting to home-based learning can still present new challenges for children and parents alike. We know, for example, that inclement winter weather and the cumulative fatigue of ongoing restrictions have removed some of the 'novelty factor' that helped us get through the first lockdown. Drawing on our experience as educators, we have outlined some useful strategies to help with motivation, maintaining focus and all-round wellbeing.
The importance of routine
Create a routine. Keep to a timetable for learning, exercise time, time for breaks, time for quiet time and play time. Try to keep sleep patterns consistent – waking up and going to bed at the same time, at least during weekdays. Structure is proven to help with stability in uncertain and testing times and is essential for children's wellbeing.
Where possible, create a separate space for remote learning, even if this is just a desk within a room or a corner of the kitchen table that is only used for this purpose. Closing the laptop, having a light to switch off, a door to close, or even just a different space to enter can help to ring fence the time that is used for different activities. This space can then be 'packed away' at the weekend.
Creating specific times and spaces for learning can help to stop the days merging into one another and maintain a stronger sense of weekdays and weekends.
Keeping the lines of parent-teacher communication open is essential. Support and advice is on-hand, if your children are struggling with any aspect of remote learning. Listen to what your child is saying and notice what they are not saying – changes in behaviour and mood can indicate that children are not coping well. Ongoing dialogue with your child's teacher or tutor allows us to adapt the content of online learning, to better suit their needs and help them overcome any difficulties they may be experiencing.
Don't be shy of asking for technology support from the school. This can be new to parents and sometimes rather daunting.
Teacher / tutor support
Our online provision provides pupils with a consistent point of contact with their teachers and peers during both lessons and dedicated tutor time – offering pupils reassurance, helping to calm anxieties and overcome other potential barriers to learning. This in-built tutorial support equips pupils with strategies to deal with the current situation. Please encourage your children to make use of this time to talk honestly with teachers about any difficulties or challenges they might be facing.
Relaxation and downtime
Aim to make sure downtime during remote learning is time away from screens. Don't switch off the laptop, computer or iPad you've been using for learning and jump straight onto a phone or games console.
Get everyone outside, if you are able to, for exercise at some point each day. Time in nature has been proven to be one of the best ways to improve mental health and boost wellbeing. Enjoy the coast, woodlands or countryside walks, if you are able to do so, safely and within the current restrictions. Spend time in the garden or the local park as a minimum, to blow away cobwebs and top-up vitamin D levels.
And most importantly…
Be kind to yourself. We are all living through strange times. Remind yourself that you are doing an amazing job supporting your child’s learning at home. You may be doing this while trying to work or run your own business from home, while trying to care for elderly or vulnerable family members and while you yourself are coping with many pressures. Look after your own wellbeing because, that way, you will be in the best position to support the wellbeing of your children. Ask for the school’s support when you need it – we are here to help you.
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