Learning from lockdown

Continuing the conversation: Habits picked up during learning from home can be part of helping students with homework. Photo: Shutterstock
Continuing the conversation: Habits picked up during learning from home can be part of helping students with homework. Photo: Shutterstock

For those starting school in 2022, the idea of learning from home should remain just that, an idea.

On the other hand, for teachers, fellow and older school students and some parents, home learning will be a recent memory, and one that will remain fresh in 2022.

Monash University professor Andrea Reupert said that schooling during lockdown has highlighted how parents and teachers are both involved in a child's learning, but in different ways.

"Learning doesn't just happen in the classroom, there's lots of different ways that kids learn and you can do a lot as a parent."

This doesn't necessarily mean that parents should be taking on the role of a teacher. For parents with high school age children, asking questions around the dinner table about who should get COVID vaccines first, for example, can be one way of developing their children's reasoning skills.

In addition, habits that families may have picked up during learning from home can be useful in persisting once students return to school. For example, not having the television on while students were doing remote learning can also be applied to when they have homework.

"Engage with the kids in learning, asking them what sorts of things they learnt about today, get the kids to help set the table and even ask littler kids, 'How many forks do you think we need, how many knives, how many is that all together?'

"Education isn't just a formal sit down, hit the books, look at the screen, it's part of a conversation," said Reupert.

These kinds of conversations help students apply their knowledge that they've learnt in the classroom in real life settings. However, Reupert acknowledges that parents need to be able to support themselves and reach out for help when needed.

"Parents are a teacher of other things but they can't play that role if they are struggling."

When a child starts school or begins at a new school, daily tasks for parents will have to adapt and change. Working out an equitable distribution of these tasks can prevent one parent from being overwhelmed. While women took on the bulk of the burden during lockdowns, as students go back to school there is the opportunity for re-negotiation.

"Some of the strategies are negotiating between partners and being very clear," said Reupert.

Because ultimately, whether in lockdown or not, supporting a child's education requires parents to be mentally well too, said Reupert.

"To get through the day don't ask too much of yourself and reach out and ask for help. We have to step back and just take it easy on ourselves."

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