Settlement Guide

Helping with your child’s home-based learning

Working from home and overseeing children while they learn remotely can be challenging for most parents. Source: GettyImagesImgorthand

With multiple areas in Australia back in COVID-19 lockdowns, many parents may find remote learning for their children onerous. Luckily, resources and help for home-based learning are available.

Working from home and overseeing children while they learn remotely during COVID-19 can be quite challenging for most parents. 

Now with multiple cities, including Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, back in lockdown, parents have to once again contend with juggling multiple roles at once. 

Education consultant Tamara Kidd from has educated her two children at home for 14 years.

She says schools and teachers support home-based learning during COVID-19, and it is different from the actual “homeschooling”, which removes a child from the school system completely.

A former primary school teacher, Ms Kidd says home-based learning does not need to follow a nine-to-three school programme as schools often experience many interruptions, including various breaks and activities.

She says students usually get only about two to three hours of work done in a normal school day.

She suggests getting younger students to do most of their school work in the morning and allowing teenagers to stay up and wake up later as their bodies adjust to the biological changes while growing up.

Home schooling

Cool Australia is a not-for-profit organisation founded by adventurer, photographer and author Jason Kimberley. 

It provides educational resources used by teachers in 90 per cent of Australian schools and for parents.

The pandemic has kept the organisation busy adapting their online resources into simplified materials for parents to access from home amid increased demands from Australia and abroad.

Thriving with home-based learning

Mr Kimberley says Cool Australia promotes personal and social skills in its free learning activities in addition to materials for key subjects like maths and English in the Australian curriculum.

How to build their self-confidence, their self-discipline, their decision-making skills.

He encourages parents to stay positive and make the most out of this experience now that families are forced to stay closer than ever.

Home schooling
GettyImagesKlaus Vedfelt

Mr Kimberley suggests setting up a learning environment at home and even asking children to wear their school uniforms.   

It just gives them that mindset that I’m going to study, I’m going to learn.

Reviews by education experts during New Zealand’s 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes found that students actually performed better after weeks of home-based learning.

This is what Brisbane mum Mona Perez discovered about her 10-year-old daughter and six-year-old son after moving them to home-based learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia. 

"My daughter’s maths has improved a lot which was always a struggle at school," she says.

Students from migrant and refugee backgrounds face disadvantage

Ramesh Kumar, who heads Victoria-based Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre, says many students his organisation supports face a different reality.

Even though many of Kumar’s clients came to Australia with a clear drive to excel in this country, the obstacles of job cuts, social isolation, and home-schooling presented by COVID-19 have placed an extra burden on families.

"There is no proper home-learning environment if there are four children that go to school and then there is not enough space and there is not enough equipment," he says.

Online learning

Mr Kumar is concerned about high school students who often need to assist their younger siblings because their parents cannot help due to a lack of English proficiency or understanding of the Australian education system.  

The organisation has partnered with South East Community Links and local schools to provide equipment aid for children to learn from home.

Mr Kumar says, unfortunately, some students of migrant or refugee backgrounds are not on an equal footing to their Australian-born counterparts and do not always have the luxury to devote to their studies fully.

"For the girls from certain backgrounds, it is more challenging because the mum gets them to do all kinds of work, so they didn’t get time even to do their homework," he says.

Southern and Migrant Refugee Centre is helping students improve their learning outcomes through its homework support program, which is being offered online due to COVID-19.

Home schooling
Getty Images

NSW- Stay-at-home rules apply to all Greater Sydney and Regional NSW schools from 5 pm 14 August to 12:01 am 22 August. Early childhood education and care services – including family daycare and venues – may continue to operate. More information here

Victoria - Schools in Metropolitan Melbourne have moved to remote and flexible learning for all students, except for those facing a vulnerability or children where both parents are essential workers and can't work from home. More information here

ACT- Students should stay at home. All ACT schools remain open for vulnerable children and children whose parents and carers cannot work from home. More information here

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