Hopefully, it will never happen. Hopefully, you won’t be required to provide temporary homeschooling to your kids. With any luck, Queensland school closures won’t be necessary, and we’ll all go about our academic lives without major inconvenience. Officially now a pandemic, Queensland families are being urged to treat Coronavirus (COVID-19) as a serious issue and to prepare. So what can you do right now to prepare for school closures?
Preparing your child for this big change in routine
Mindset: This is the most important, and most overlooked aspect of study, be it at home or in the classroom. Your child’s mindset plays a major role in how receptive they are to learning, and how efficiently they study. For children already struggling with the right attitude to study, a major change in routine can be detrimental to their academic performance.
Make lemonade – home-schooling is an opportunity to help your child grow their academic potential
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt after almost a decade in transformative academic training, it’s that kids rarely get A’s in a vacuum. For every A on a report card, there are four people playing a vital role: the teacher, the tutor, your child and you. We’ve been turning C’s to A’s for a long time now, and the key ingredients are the right mindset, the right strategy, and the right support.
Temporary home-schooling affords parents a golden opportunity to empower children for better learning. Preparing your kids for temporary home-schooling isn’t just about getting them into a daily study routine, it’s about building the core skills required to be successful in life, not just at school. While teachers try every day to build capable learners, this is your chance to have first-hand, direct input into your child’s academic success.
How to help your child make the most of school closures
- Be resilient: See this as a temporary setback, to adapt and do their best, regardless of the difficulties.
- Be independent: Now is the time to encourage kids to take more responsibility for their studies because they don’t have a teacher dictating their every move.
- Be reliable: Commit to a daily study routine and keep to their commitments.
- Be self-motivated: Once the routine is established, make it their responsibility to get up and get it done!
- Be confident: This disruption is unprecedented, and they are pioneering a new way to study. Celebrate their victories. Make sure they know you’re proud of how capable they are at such an uncertain time.
- Be a problem solver: When tech problems or other struggles arise, encourage your children to overcome the problem themselves.
- Be focused on goals: Set them achievable study targets daily and acknowledge their achievements.
- Be their best: This is a golden opportunity for parents to help kids realise that they are capable, they do have the skills to meet their full potential, and with the right support they can do amazing things – not just at school, but in life.
What if they’re not receptive to home-schooling?
A teenager who wants to sleep late and play video games all day? Never! This never happens (*eyeroll*). Keeping them motivated during this time is not going to be easy, even if you’re there with them on lockdown. If you’re off to work during the day, most kids won’t make home study a priority. If school closures drag on, your child could risk a major dent in their academic record.
When to call in a pro to keep your child’s motivation up
A tutor specially trained in keeping students motivated and on course for academic achievement will aid you in supervising your ad hoc home school. Here are the top signs you need help:
- Your child lacks motivation to get to work each day.
- He or she uses minor setbacks as an excuse to avoid study.
- Without constant supervision, your student won’t get the work finished.
- You keep hearing “I can’t do it” over and over.
The first mistake parents make is attributing all these excuses to laziness. Often, it’s actually self-doubt creeping in, and kids feel it’s simpler not to try than to try and fail. This is pretty common and definitely not reserved for kids. If your child is making a lot of excuses and not kicking their (attainable) goals, a course of tutoring with a mindset-trained tutor can adjust the way they “see” studying so that they can “do” study better. Getting past the mindset barriers can open the floodgates and solve those weekly homework meltdowns.
Forget toilet paper – “stockpile” teaching time!
In China, Japan and other countries heavily affected by school closures, the big issue has been educator shortages. Teachers and tutors have been forced into self-isolation in order to protect the student body, meaning they can’t hold classes. So how do you stockpile teaching time?
In other countries, online tutors have “sold out” long before school closures were announced. They’ve faced a massive shortage in online tutoring places. With “shop front” tutoring companies also affected by closures, parents faced with teaching the quadratic equation to their fifteen-year-olds (*hold me*) looked to the online teaching world for help, only to find they were sold out.
As part of the education industry and providers to Australia’s elite schools, we’ve already made expansion of our online tutoring capabilities a top priority. Our existing students will be our first priority and we’ll always guarantee their needs are met.
Learn more about mindset-based academia
Reserve Online Tutorials Now
Set your computers up now for effective home-schooling
It’s time to get the kids’ laptops backed up and in good working order. Clean out unnecessary apps, update their operating systems/virus software, do a disc clean up (and where necessary defragment), and give it a good clean. If your children are using desktop computers, this includes taking off the cover and removing excessive dust (take necessary safety precautions before doing this). Make sure there is sufficient space on the hard drive for any new materials provided by the Department of Education or your school.
Now is also a good time to teach younger kids about keeping their computer organised, using a specific folder, ordered by subject, for schoolwork. Teens already know how to use their computers better than you do… but kids under ten may need some help to learn the basics.
What to consider when planning for online home-schooling:
- Is there a power point for long use of laptops?
- Do you have a microphone and volume-limited headphones for your child’s laptop?
- Will your child’s laptop need any extra hardware? If your child uses a desktop, will you need to purchase a cheap and cheerful camera?
- Is the WIFI signal stable or do you need to relocate your router?
- Is your WIFI plan sufficient for a sudden increase in usage, including video conferencing?
- Does your NBN connection slow significantly in peak times? How will that affect your child’s ability to study when the rest of the neighbourhood is also receiving online lessons?
- Do you have all your child’s school logins and passwords? Will they need any special software to study at home?
- Can you access the school’s online learning aids at home? If your school uses Maths Online or other resources, do you have it all set up at home too?
- If your children are younger and use your online credentials (or even phone hot-spotting for data), will they need their own during this time? How will you cope without your phone for hours on end?
- Learn to use Do Not Disturb Mode (Mac) and Focus Assistant (Windows 10) to help minimise the number of distractions during working periods. Note: They’re very easy to use – just a few clicks – but permanently making changes to Windows 10 Focus Assistant hours requires registry editing, which is not recommended for novices!
- Does your child need their own Zoom or Skype account?
- If your tutor will be delivering their services online, what will your child need?
Preparing your home-schooling space
A good workspace has plenty of room, plenty of natural light, and is clear of clutter and distractions. For most families, there’s already a space where the kids sit to do homework but consider how suited it is for longer-term study. Is their study area free of distractions during the day? What suits in the evening may be less suitable by day. Will you have multiple kids doing online study at the same time? How will you minimise sibling distraction?
Consider talking to other parents about planning online gaming downtime and social media “do not disturbs”. Even if the other parents don’t get on-board with structured home-schooling, they can at least tell their children not to send constant distractions to yours!
When will schools in Queensland close?
At this stage, if, when, and for how long Queensland schools will close is still up for speculation. Like all parents across Queensland, we’re hoping that COVID-19 passes without much drama and there’s no need for school closures at all. As responsible members of the education industry, we’re also taking a proactive approach to planning and preparing at this difficult time. Unfortunately, due to high demand, we cannot guarantee online tutoring placements for all enquiries. We will be forced to prioritise existing students first.