By Hayden McEvoy, founder of A Team Tuition

Congratulations, you’ve now made it through the first few weeks of COVID-19 induced homeschooling! It’s tough, isn’t it? For many parents, homeschooling is a whole new world. How do I read the syllabus properly? How many hours a day should my child be studying? How do I keep them engaged? These are questions many parents never thought they’d have to ask.

But now, we’ve hit the Easter holidays and you can take a small sigh of relief. Firstly, pat yourself on the back, you are doing an incredible job. Even if you feel like your homeschool attempts have been a hot mess, your willingness to help your child continue learning in the midst of this challenging situation deserves congratulations.

So now, while the kids are on holidays, you have the chance to plan term two.

Hayden McEvoy

Hayden McEvoy is the founder of A Team Tuition, a tutoring company that believes in empowering every student to reach their full potential.

An Educator’s perspective on homeschooling

Educators spend years honing their teaching skills. You, on the other hand, have been thrown in to the deep end.

The first thing to remember, as you consider term two is this: you are not a teacher, and that’s okay. Your child doesn’t need you to be their teacher. They already have one!

Most schools around Australia are working very hard to keep teaching kids and alleviate stress for parents. Online learning requires more parental attention than just dropping your kids off at school.

Do what you can to create a great learning environment for your family. But, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Your child’s teacher is still their primary educator.

After years of teaching and training others to Coach and Mentor, here are my top three tips for helping your child in their online learning:

Learn how they learn: If you don’t already know, it’s great to find out how your child best takes in information. Are they visual or more hands-on? Do they need to watch someone do it first and then copy them? Do they need to feel confident in their understanding before they will try something? Once you know that, it’s easier to help them in their moments of frustration or misunderstanding.

Set a schedule: Kids and adults alike thrive with routine. Just because the school bell isn’t ringing doesn’t mean you can’t have structured days. Think about the times when you have meals, breaks and physical movement. Keep that routine up and your child will learn what to expect each day.

Reinforce through conversation: You don’t have to be a history teacher to help your child remember the dates of WWII. You don’t have to be an early education specialist to help your child learn their ABC’s. However old your child and whatever they are learning, it will all be greatly reinforced simply by talking about it. Find moments throughout the day or at the dinner table to direct the conversation to whatever your child has been learning about. Get the whole family interested.

Homeschooling

The first thing to remember, as you consider term two is this: you are not a teacher, and that’s okay.

Easy ways to prepare

As term two approaches, what should you be thinking about? Think about the biggest challenges you faced in your first few weeks of homeschooling. Problem-solving these areas should be your biggest priority.

Space: Does your child have a dedicated learning space? Set up a corner in the kitchen or the spare room.

Routine: Does your family have a good daily and weekly rhythm? Make sure there are times of rest, play, work and exercise built in – for everyone.

Technology: Struggling to make the tech work? If your internet keeps dropping out or you can’t get your head around Zoom, use the holidays as a chance to reassess. Get help – watch some tutorials online or call a friend.

Curriculum: Do you know what your child needs to learn? If your child’s teacher hasn’t given you a copy of the syllabus, curriculum or weekly learning schedule, ask for one.

Support: Do you and your child have access to the right support? Online learning is not for everyone, so many students will find learning this way more difficult. This magnifies the complex educational needs of students. If your child is struggling with their education, I would recommend seeking the assistance of trained educators, who specialise in accommodating diverse learning needs. It is vitally important that parents, students and educators work together through this extraordinary period so that students are provided with the best educational opportunities and outcomes possible.

You could perhaps look at assistance from an online tutoring company like A Team Tuition. Look for a company that combines psychology with education to ensure that all kids have the right mindset needed for effective learning at home and in school. Also, remember that an hour of one on one focus is the equivalent of many hours in the school classroom.

Be kind to yourself and your family: The challenges of COVID-19 are not easy. Family life has changed in dramatic ways. You and your children have been forced to adjust to these huge changes, very quickly. You’ve got work and family commitments to balance in amongst your new role of home educator. So, take it easy on yourself. Have plenty of patience with your children and yourself – as you tackle this new lifestyle, together. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are plenty of professional educators out there who would love to see you and your child step confidently into term two.

WATCH: Sophie of Wessex’s tips for parents homeschooling their children