Finding your way in a new home education world
Negotiating the world of home learning is very foreign to most families and, as we deal with this world changed by COVID-19, expert advice is always useful. Last week I was fortunate enough to talk to two experts in children learning at home, for the second part in this series on home schooling, I asked the same questions of an experienced distance education teacher.
Steven Rigney has a long history of engagement in education in Science, the Arts and Mathematics and is currently teaching distance education. His perspective is interesting as much of this education practice has been done in rural and remote areas, including working in remote Indigenous communities. Interestingly, he has combined his love of classical ballet, music and science, as a part of his teaching.
What do you think is the best thing about children learning in their own home?
Students can focus on the content of the lesson and there’s so much more one on one interaction with the teacher. It gives them opportunities to work at their own pace.
When working at home students are more likely to ask questions and seek help, as there is a degree of anonymity, and also a lack of peer pressure.
What is the most essential element or action in successful home-schooling?
It needs to be understood that a lot of the learning is self-directed. Students need to be motivated and organised. If parents can help children to set up a routine this will support them in being organised which will lead to being far more motivated.
What part do you think the Arts play in learning at home?
The Arts allow for self-expression and can be solo or shared. They encourage diverse learning styles and creative ways of presenting ideas. My favourite home-schooling moment is when students say “that was a fun lesson”.
What is your best piece of advice for parents embarking on the home-schooling journey?
Ensure that students stay focussed and have a routine… also schedule in regular breaks.
What is your best piece of advice for children embarking on the home-schooling journey?
Students need to take responsibility for their own learning. Be organised, treat it like you are going to school. Set up a place to work and set times to work and rest and have breaks.
The Arts can play an important role in keeping things calm at home during these moments. Remember how you feel when you sing along to a song or dance in the kitchen as you cook! Use dance and music to diffuse any ‘Iso-dramas’ and remember the importance of modelling positive and uplifting behaviour around learning for your children.
The advice from all three educators seems clear and can be applied in most homes. Home learning in the current environment is supported by knowledgeable, enthusiastic and creative teachers who have many years of teaching and learning experience. These are dedicated professionals who are highly trained. They have put together wonderful resources that support your children as they navigate these unknown waters.
Supportive and loving parents add to the formula for education success. Enjoy these moments at home with your children and try not to put too much pressure on yourself or your children. Your children will be ok! And so will you.