A home learning guide for parents
Here we are again, supporting our children in home learning was an unexpected, unplanned and new challenge for us all in 2020, but Lockdown 2021 sees us better prepared, doesn’t it?
What remote learning should my child be receiving?
If your children are in a primary or secondary school, then that school should provide some work for your child to complete when away from school, this is referred to as ‘remote learning’.
Remote learning can include paper worksheets , textbooks and/or physical resource packs, however it is more common for remote learning to be ‘online learning’ delivered through some online means such as a school website, or a learning platform (such as Seesaw, Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams).
Each school is different in how it delivers remote learning, so contact your school if you are unsure how to access the school remote learning offer for your child.
There is no set requirement for the type of remote learning offered. Some schools offer directed remote learning, where a teacher or staff member provides a list of resources for a child to access each day or week, others will provide links to national sites as described below. (The latest government information on remote learning is here)
Online learning can be asynchronous (the work is pre-recorded and you do it in your own time), synchronous (a live lesson with a real teacher at a set time online), or a mix of the two.
What can I as a parent do to help my child learn at home?
Set up a routine at home which works for the whole family as well as possible, and consider the following:
Task switching and concentration: It’s reckoned that a child can focus on a single activity for (their age in years +2) minutes, so a seven year old should approach work in chunks of up to nine minutes at a time before switching task. A switch could be from listening to an explanation to doing questions, or writing something about the lesson so far. So remember to switch regularly to maintain concentration.
Time limits and breaks: In school, most children will have one or more breaktimes and a lunch break during the day. They may also have time moving between lessons, or ‘golden time’ or similar where they can depressurise from learning for a few minutes in the day. Try to build these breaks into your day too.
Mental Health & Wellbeing: Try to mix focus throughout the day, your child may have worked a lot on paper or at a screen, so try to get outside, play a board game or do something away from screens and writing to help maintain wellbeing over this time.
Your week should suit you: If your school is providing asynchronous learning, there is no reason why you cannot shift the school day back or forward in time to suit your other needs, nor do you need to stick to Monday to Friday- perhaps a midweek day or two could be swapped for school at the weekend? After all, we’re not allowed to go anywhere are we?!
Where can I find home learning resources?
The heroes of the last lockdown are here again, with the BBC are putting on a full service with their TV services and BBC Bitesize working full speed to deliver quality learning experiences (The live TV offer includes Primary on CBBC from 9am, Secondary on BBC2 from 1pm). Oak National Academy are still providing over 10,000 lessons of learning content for pupils of all ages too. The government have also collated some links and information on their website here.
There are also entire suites of learning resources from many providers including, but not limited to: Parentkind, The Khan Academy, Common Sense Media Wide Open School and there’s even a YouTube free school!
Your school will also likely have additional services, such as TT Rockstars, SumDog, Pobble or GCSEPod which they will share login details for if needed.
I’ve heard you don’t need a computer for online learning, how do you do that?
All of the above resources are based in a web browser, so you can access them from any web-enabled device. Phones, tablets, Chromebooks, computers and laptops are all designed to do this, however, you may not realise that recent Smart TVs and consoles can also access the internet for home learning.
Every TV is different, but you should be able to find the web browser through the main menu. Some TVs also accept USB or Bluetooth keyboards, others can act as a second screen to a smaller device, such as your phone. For consoles, you will find below some simple instructions on how you can access learning platforms with a Playstation or Xbox.
- Identify the PlayStation internet browser icon (WWW with dots around it).
- Press the PlayStation logo on the controller.
- Go to the library and find options for games and applications.
- Go to applications and you will find the internet browser.
- Navigate to your online learning platform and log in as usual.
- Plug a keyboard into the Xbox USB slot.
- Go to my games and apps.
- Find and select Microsoft Edge.
- Navigate to your online learning platform.
So what do we do now?
If you are unsure about anything, please contact your child’s school in the first instance. The staff there will do their best to help you out and will work with you to help you achieve success with remote learning.
Remember that this lockdown will end, we are staying home to protect the NHS and save lives. Remote learning can be a challenge, but can also provide a great opportunity to connect with your children. So take care of yourselves and each other, and try to enjoy it!