How to cope with kids at home, encourage and support their learning, answer questions and look after their well being during Coronavirus.
These are challenging times, with kids home from school, learning remotely and family routines disrupted, but here we aim to provide you with some useful advice, support and resources to help you navigate the disruption and keep your kids learning and safe. We will update these resources as we go. Please contact us if you think we need to add anything or have any questions.
Here are APC President Jenni Rickard's top three tips for managing learning at home.
1. You know your child best so do what they need to do. Mine are busy kids so we are keeping busy! But you do you! (and your kids)
2. Take a dance break when you or your kids need it! I recommend "Shake it off" by Taylor Swift
3. Have them pack their lunch and recess like usual and send them off to school via the front door and make the back door the school entrance.
But mostly just remember to try to have some fun together.
Quick links to government information
Below are links to federal and state and territory government information sites. Many States and territories have special pages with information for parents to help support children's learning at home. We have included direct links below if they have, otherwise we have included links to general COVID-19 information pages.
Learning at home tips for parents
Here are 10 top tips for Primary kids from Smart Achievers:
- Do some vigorous exercise before school
There's lots of studies to support doing physical activity before any learning exercise but the premise is it improves concentration levels. Keep it fun too, such as crazy dancing to some music.
- Start a learning session with a game as a mental warm-up
With concentration in mind again, games such as Uno, Connect 4 or other card games, provide a nice way to ease your child into learning mode. It helps children feel happy and happy kids learn better.
- Sit your child on a chair that does NOT swivel
It's no surprise to anyone that the location of where your child is learning is important, but also the desk and chair they use. The novelty of swivel chairs is distracting to kids and will take their eyes off their task. A tidy working space is also advisable.
- Make sure their tools are ready to go
Similarly, it's important their workspace is set up for the start of class-time, like at school. This means have tools like glasses, pencils, sharpeners, erasers etc ready and organised, as a tidy working space free of distractions helps.
- Turn off distracting noises
There's plenty of distractions inside every home, namely the TV or radio, or devices such as laptops, tablets or phones. Turn them off, put them on silent and move them well away from the workspace.
- Have set and regular feeding, exercise and break times
Maintaining a routine is important in life and home schooling is no different. Be regimented with regular feeding/recess/lunch breaks, along with set times for exercise and games breaks.
- Get your child prepared
Having a planned day is one thing but sticking to it is another. The need for a toilet break or a thirsty and/or hungry child is a quick way to de-rail those plans. Sort that before learning time.
- Stay positive
If a child makes a mistake when reading ask them to “try that again”, “sound out the word” or “read the base word first and then the whole word".
- Challenge them
Ask them to count forwards and backwards orally to the 10th factor eg 2s to 20 and 20 to 2
- Check they can SAY the alphabet
Lots of children can sing the alphabet but can they actually say it? The tune has meant some letters have blurred into one word, like 'Elemenopee' or 'Elmo'! This is an easy one to fix at home.
Here are some other good sources of advice to help you and your family make this a positive experience.
- Home-schooling might seem daunting. These are some tools parents can use
- Top tips: Parents taking care of kids at home
- Trying to homeschool because of coronavirus? Here are 5 tips to help your child learn
- As the coronavirus crisis turns parents into teachers, experts share homeschooling advice
- Resources to support kids learning at home - from the ABC
- See how a parent and a teacher are adjusting to home learning during the coronavirus pandemic
- How 'regular school' parents can homeschool their kids
- Managing screen-time when everybody's stuck at home
- WooTube - Maths videos from celebrated teacher Eddie Woo that make maths fun
- Free numeracy game plan for parents
- Coronavirus has parents gearing up to home tutor if schools close. Here are some tips from homeschoolers
- Kids at home because of coronavirus? Here are 4 ways to keep them happy (without resorting to Netflix)
- Three tips to protect your kids from cyber bullying during COVID-19 quarantines
- Stuck inside with the kids during the coronavirus pandemic? Here are some ideas for creative play
Fun things to do with kids at a social distance
Looking for some educational activities and fun things you can do with your kids? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- The Big List of Children’s Authors Doing Online Read-Alouds & Activities, also try Reading books aloud, Michael Rosen or the fabulous Puffin Books YouTube channel
- Visit Harry Potter at home - via wizarding world
- Listen to free stories for children now available from Audible - inc an audiobook a day from David Walliams
- Join in the fun with creative writing at home program at The Story Factory
- Online books for younger kids learning to read - Biff and Chip Online
- Watch ABC's Behind the News together and check out ABC Kids - for things to make, do and play as well as watch and listen
- Distance / Home Learning Packets and Strategies for Special Education
- Scholastic free daily courses for kids stuck home amid coronavirus school closures
- Visit a zoo: Try Cincinati or Edinburgh where there are live cam feeds of Penguins and more
- Visit space: Nasa has made it's entire media library free
- Watch handwashing video
- Cook up a storm - try Jamie Oliver - who has new Coronavirus store cupboard and kids' recipes
- Take a virtual museum tour or try the Victorian State Library where you can download the huge collection of books, music and photos for free
- Learn about germs
Talking COVID-19 and emotional well-being
The following are links to some relevant advice and articles on how to discuss COVID19 with your children and support their emotional well being.
"One of the most useful things we can do to help reduce our children’s worry is to be calm ourselves. Your child takes cues from you about how to react and they learn how to handle challenging situations by watching and listening to what you say."
- Parental as Anything podcast with Maggie Dent—how to talk to kids about coronavirus and guide your family through it
- How to talk to your children about coronavirus (COVID-19): Eight tips to help comfort and protect children (Unicef)
- How to talk to your children about coronavirus: top 10 questions answered
- Let’s talk to kids about the second COVID-19 wave and new restrictions
- How collecting feathers and doing handstands can help your small children deal with coronavirus
- 8 tips on what to tell your kids about coronavirus
- How teenagers can protect their mental health during coronavirus (COVID-19)