Supporting learning at home
In the context of the school closure, we are all trying to adapt to new ways of learning and working. Doing school work at home is different to doing it in lessons at school. It is different for teachers too. We cannot expect learning at home to be the same as learning at school and we understand that this makes some students and parents anxious. We all need to remember that this period of home-learning is not forever and is not expected to replicate what school would be like. When school re-opens, we will all be working hard to help students catch up.
Meantime, here are some useful tips for students and parents / carers, to help you adapt. Some of these tips may help you and some may not. Everyone is finding the way that works for them.
1. Planning and structuring your day
- Try to have a balanced, healthy structure for your day.
- Keep regular times for going to bed and waking up. In the mornings, having a healthy breakfast and getting washed and dressed will help you get in the right frame of mind for learning.
- Set a timetable for each day so you know when you will be doing your school work and when you will be doing other activities. Be specific but also realistic. You could follow similar timings to the school day to add a familiar structure to your day. Or you could make your own timetable to fit in with family routines. An example is below.
- If possible, find a comfortable, distraction-free space in your home where you can work, ideally at a table, so that you can work with good posture.
- Take short rest and movement breaks. You could add these breaks into your timetable or take them after you have completed an activity. You can judge what works best for you.
- Helping at home is a good break from academic work and develops your life skills. Learning how to use household appliances, preparing and cooking food and keeping the home clean are all useful ways to learn and help. Your parents and carers will appreciate your help while everyone has to stay at home.
- Consider planning breaks together as a family, especially if your parents / carers are trying to work from home. This will help you to connect with each other during learning breaks and then allow working time to be calm and quiet.
- Consider setting up a system of rewarding yourself for working hard with activities that you want to do. It will help to put phones and social media aside while doing school work, then perhaps reward yourself with time connecting with others online.
2. Completing school work
- Remember that the school work being set is to help to keep your mind active and help you keep learning. It is not the same as being at school and the way you are working will feel different. Don’t worry about doing all the work at once, or if it seems like there is too much or too little at once. Just do one activity at a time. It is not meant to be the same as a day at school.
- Carefully read and re-read instructions to make sure you have fully understood the task. You could make a note of the steps you will need to take to complete the activity. You can also ask your teachers and classmates questions on Google Classroom using the comments section. You are not alone and it’s all right if you don’t understand straight away.
- You might be learning new information and this might include new vocabulary. Take time to understand and look up these new words. There are dictionaries online you can use. You could use also mindmaps, draw pictures or make notes to help learn and remember.
- To help with organisation, especially if you haven’t got all your books with you, create specific folders where you will save your work for the different subjects on your Google Drive. If you are working on paper then have a system of keeping these in one place and safe.
- Try to keep to the time limits or lengths of work that teachers provide. If you need more time, ask your teacher.
- Deadlines: please don’t worry if the deadlines are not achievable for you. Some deadlines have been set a goal for students to work towards however, if this is overwhelming or feels like too much pressure, communicate with your teacher via Classroom.
- Feedback from teachers: in this new way of working and learning, you won’t get feedback straight away. Remember your teachers are also working at home and, while they also balance family life and domestic arrangements with their work, they cannot respond the way they would in normal school time.
We are aware that you and your parents / carers may be receiving lots of different resources to support learning from home. Please don’t feel you need to look at or use all of these. It can be overwhelming! Different things work for different students and their families. Learning and working at home is not the same as school and never will be. So we all have to find the way that works for us. Pick the ones that help you the best.
Here are three that we feel could help you:
Access to free audiobooks including things like Romeo and Juliet but also a wide range of teen fiction. Have a look and listen.
Here you can look up words or keywords that you need help with.
Learning here for maths up to Year 7. This contains an interactive video explaining concepts if you need these re-explained and also includes extra worksheets if you would like some extra practice in a certain area.
This has plenty of support and interactive activities to support learning at home, across lots of subjects, for a range of ages and abilities.
4. Example timetable:
As mentioned, many people find it helpful to make a timetable for each day. This helps to keep you on-task, motivated and organised. This is one example timetable, based on timings of the school day. This might work for you or you might want to create one that works better for you and the routines of your family.
This is just an example for one day!