Homeschooling in Australia is a growing education trend, even more so today. But are we and our kids ready to take on this change? These helpful homeschooling tips are just what you need to make remote learning a fun and positive experience!
Homeschooling in Australia
Home education is not a new concept in the country. Australian states and territories consider it as a legal education alternative, following an approved curriculum or syllabus. Parents planning to homeschool their kids need to send an application form to their state’s education department. This way, authorities can ensure that the parent’s educational plan and the national requirements are aligned. And while any parent can apply to homeschool their child, registered teachers may also be hired.
Several families in Australia have been homeschooling their children for years. And there are many reasons why they chose to do so. Common deciding factors include religious beliefs, geographical or financial issues, health concerns and special education needs.
Homeschooling Tips for Fun Learning
But while some parents are home education experts, first-timers may be feeling pressured and overwhelmed. With these homeschooling tips, parents can adjust well into this new learning setup, while the kids get to experience something new and fun.
1. Designate a learning area
Assigning a learning space for you kids will help improve their concentration. There are no clear-cut standards as to how your learning area should look. What’s important is that they are safe, comfortable and productive in their chosen environment. Just make sure to turn off the TV and keep video games off-limits when studying.
2. Set up all your technology needs
Depending on your kids’ learning programme, they may need to use the computer to chat with their online teacher, watch a movie clip or answer exams. Check that your laptop has the necessary software for reading documents, video playing and instant messaging.
Also, contact your affiliate homeschool provider and check if they provide access to shared packages. If you’re downloading free teleconferencing facilities, make sure to get it from official developers to ensure security.
3. Establish a schedule and routine
It’s hard to bring kids to a “school” mindset when they are staying at home. Solve this by creating a homeschool routine and ask them to create their schedule or timetable. Making them feel involved will make it easier for them to grasp your homeschool rules and goals.
No need to follow the usual 9 am to 3 pm school structure though. You can start with two subjects a day for 3 hours, then see how your child progress from there. Homeschooling is different from the traditional school setup as kids will be on one-on-one instruction. And so, it’s likely for them to absorb lessons better with homeschooling. Try not to be strict with time and focus more on quality education. As long as the kids perform well, they’ll be fine.
4. Incorporate hands-on activities
Sitting down for hours while listening to lessons, be it homeschooling or classroom setting, can make kids bored and irritable. Spice things up a bit with relevant and engaging activities. For instance, why not improve everyone’s vocabulary with a game of scrabble or boggle?
Ask them to paint or create clay figures during art class. Enhance their writing skills using a daily journal. Or turn math into a baking class using measuring cups and a weighing scale. A reward of home-baked pizza with a side lesson on fractions sounds exciting, not to mention mouth-watering!
5. Stay calm and be flexible
Parents need help to adjust well into homeschooling, too. You can start by taking a deep breath and letting things flow. Because of the current crisis, most mums and dads are thrust into the idea of homeschooling by surprise. So, the last thing we want is to create more reasons to panic. Don’t worry too much. Things will eventually fall into place!
Also, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your kids. Take advantage of this time to let your kids catch up and improve. Allow the kids to learn at their own pace, communicate with them and help them out when they need it. Go easy on the rules and encourage them more.
6. Seek expert help
When trying out something new, it’s always advisable to have professional support. This homeschooling tip keeps parents confident and helps them handle complex subjects of their older kids.
For example, your children may be interested in studying physics, a foreign language or higher math. In this case, online tutors or specialised classes are helpful. The Home Education Association, Inc. (HEA) is also a reliable organisation to turn to for homeschooling advice in Australia. Aside from their helpline, they also offer several free online courses for kids.
7. Join support groups
Parents who have already given homeschooling a go agreed that this education shift is challenging at first yet doable. Over time, you and your kids will get the hang of it and realise its many positive outcomes. When this happens, it’s nice to share it with a support group.
People going through a similar life phase will find it helpful to learn about others’ frustrations (and how they overcome them), triumphs and discoveries. With these support groups, you can easily ask questions and get answers from the members’ first-hand experiences. Try checking some on Facebook and join one!
Make Homeschooling a Success
Being in the middle of a challenging situation is not all bad. It allows us to think outside the box and welcome new opportunities. So, while waiting for things to go back to normal, make the most of your kids’ time at home. Keep them occupied with schoolwork and other fun activities. And when you’ve decided to start remote learning, incorporate these homeschooling tips for a smooth-sailing transition!