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Tips For Parents During Home-based Learning

What is Home-Based Learning (HBL)?

Students will receive learning materials and tasks from their teachers.

You can help your child to carry out the HBL tasks.

How do I help my child during HBL?


  • Remain Calm and Confident
  • Schedule for Success
  • Set and Teach Expectations
  • Use Simple Strategies to Support Your Child at Home
  • Support Social and Emotional Learning and Well-being
  • Identify Sources of Support

1.          Remain Calm and Confident

Children are influenced by how adults around them respond to the current situation.  The best support you can give them is to model calm, confident behaviour


  • Model for them precautionary measures like cleaning and disinfecting the home, hand-washing and social distancing.
  • Assure them that the current situation is not permanent, and home-based learning is one way to ensure that it does not worsen.
  • Express a positive attitude and excitement about home-based learning.

Some children may need you to talk to them in a very concrete and explicit way about the current situation, and why schools are closed. Social stories are a good way to do this (see Example A – Social Stories).

 

2.          Schedule for Success


To create a sense of security for your child, establish a daily and weekly routine that includes activities your child enjoys, and opportunities to interact with their friends online or by telephone.

  • Involve your child in setting up the schedule so that there will be greater ownership and commitment to follow the schedule.
  • Write out the schedule and have it displayed prominently in the home (see Template A). If necessary, create a visual schedule (see Example B).
  • Do take into consideration the school’s home-based learning schedule especially when teachers may want to conduct synchronous learning (i.e., live at a scheduled time).
  • Have your child monitor themselves on whether they have followed the schedule (See Example C).
  • Maintain regular wake and bed times.
  • Ensure a good balance of learning, leisure activities and exercise.
  • Display the schedule in a prominent location, e.g., where your child works.
  • Be prepared to adjust the schedule if it does not work well

Provide your child with a space for working. Keep this consistent, so that they become used to working in the same area every day. It is best if this space is within sight of adults, so that there is adequate supervision of your child.

  

3.          Set and Teach Expectations

Discuss with your child the expectations for different types of activities/time of day.  State expectations positively – what to do, rather than what not to do.  E.g., instead of “don’t play games during study time”, say, “During study time, focus on learning and completing my work”.  State expectations in terms of observable behaviour, so that it can be monitored.  E.g., instead of “Work hard”, say, “Complete the work on time”. 

For example,

  • Refer to the schedule at the beginning of each day and engage in the planned activities.
  • Monitor at lunch time and at the end of the day if the schedule was followed
  • During study time, use personal devices/laptop for work related activities only
  • Complete all assigned work and let mum/dad know if I have difficulties. [You may also want to agree on how and when they should contact you, especially if you are at work.]
  • During short breaks, acceptable activities are having a snack, walking around the house or outside, playing with a sibling, texting a friend, talking to family members. During longer breaks, acceptable activities are….
  • During outdoor activities, keep a distance from others to stay safe.

Using these examples, come up with 5 – 6 expectations together with your child. Explain why these expectations are important, e.g., to ensure they continue to learn, to ensure the safety of everyone in the family. Make sure that you both agree on what ‘success’ looks like.

At the beginning, your child may need to practice some of these behaviours before they are able to do them independently. Monitor them closely at the start and provide praise and recognition when they make an effort to meet the expectations. Focus on what they are doing well rather than what they have not done well; catch them being good. Continue to do so until they can show these behaviours consistently and with less prompting. If your child requires tangible rewards to sustain positive behaviours, you may set up a behaviour monitoring chart and a system for rewarding them (see Example xx)

In brief, make expectations clear and visible, teach and revisit expectations in a positive tone, and notice when your child meets these expectations. In this way, you will help to create a positive, productive, safe and even enjoyable experience at home!

 

4.          Use Simple Strategies to Support Your Child at Home


a) Behaviour-specific praise lets your child know exactly what they are doing right. Instead of “Well done”, say, “You made a good choice when you put your mobile phone aside during study time”, or “Thank you for coming back from break on time”.

b) Offering your child choices helps them take responsibility and ownership, and to become more independent. For example, when setting up the schedule, “Do you want to start the day with Mathematics or History?”, or “Would you prefer to play a board game, take a nap, or go for a walk?” Be sure to honour their choices.

c) Providing a reminder of what you expect improves the chances that your child will meet those expectations. E.g., “You have until 1 pm for screen time, then you’ll have to get online to meet with your teacher.” Or “When we get home, the first thing to do is to wash your hands.”

d) Active supervision: After expectations are taught and well-understood, observe what is happening, and interact with your child. When your child is meeting expectations, provide acknowledgments using behaviour specific praise to let them know what was going well. When they are not meeting expectations, provide private, respectful feedback or redirection (give specific instructions on what to do instead). Active supervision works particularly well when used with reminders. Remind them what you are looking for throughout the day, and then be on the lookout to notice and acknowledge the desired behaviour. If you experience difficulties with your child’s behaviour, try the strategies suggested in Example D.
  
  

5.          Support Social and Emotional Learning and Well-being

During this time, take the opportunity to support your child’s social-emotional growth.  Encourage them to take responsibility for their day, and reflect on how they are doing.  To support this, Check-in and Check-out with them each day. 

Check-in: In the morning, ask:

  • What are you learning today?
  • What are your learning targets or goals?
  • How will you be spending your time?
  • What resources do you need? What support do you need?

Check-out: In the evening, ask:

  • What did you learn today?
  • What was challenging? You could come up with a strategy to deal with the same problem if it comes up again.
  • Consider three things that went well today. Why were they good?
  • Are you ok? Do you need to ask your teacher for something? Do you need help with something to make tomorrow more successful?

These questions help your child be clear about what is expected for the day, organize themselves and set priorities, and reflect on how well they are doing.  It will also tell you if they require additional support. 

For some students, the change to their daily routines, and the reduced contact with friends and familiar adults may cause some distress. 

If your child is anxious about the current situation,

  • Validate their feelings and lead them to see what they can do to help themselves. E.g., “I know you are worried/confused. This is new to us, so we will take some time to get used to it. Let’s figure out home-based learning together.” Or “I know you are worried about you or our family getting sick. That’s why it’s important that we keep your hands clean and avoid crowed places, etc.”
  • Allow them to ask questions: Answer your child with honest, accurate information that is age-appropriate. Help them distinguish between facts and rumours/fake news.
  • Supervise screen time and access to media reports. Over exposure may lead to increasing anxiety.

If your child is feeling isolated because of a prolonged absence from school,

  • Help them identify ways to connect with their peers and extended family members
  • Ask their favourite school personnel if they could give your child a call
  • Spend time with them on their preferred activity

 

6.           Identify Sources of Support

You are not alone in supporting your child at home.  Your child’s school is ready to provide guidance and assistance, and have provided you with ways to contact relevant school personnel.  Keep these handy and reach out to your child’s school if you need some support. 

If other members of your family or a domestic helper will be involved in supervising your child during home-based learning, do share this guide with them.


Adapted from

Lane, K. L., Oakes, W. P., Common, E. A., & Buckman, M. M. (2020, March). Setting up for Success at Home: Using Ci3T Structures to Facilitate Positive, Productive, Continuous Learning Opportunities during the COVID-19 Crisis. Ci3T Strategic Leadership Team. Webbased resource available at http.//www.ci3t.org

When Kids Are Anxious About Coronavirus: What to Do.  Retrieved 25 Mar 2020

https://www.understood.org/en/friends-feelings/managing-feelings/stress-anxiety/child-anxious-coronavirus

Learning From Home. Retrieved 25 Mar 2020 https://www.education.vic.gov.au/parents/learning/Pages/home-learning.aspx#link24

Example A – Social Stories

Covid-19 - Click here
The need of Home-based Learning - Click here

Example B

A Visual Schedule for younger children (From https://www.schkidules.com/)

t1.png

A schedule for older children

t2.png


Example C

Behaviour monitoring charts to ensure your child follows the schedule
(From 
https://www.printableshelter.com/printable-behaviour-chart-for-behaviour-monitoring/)

t3.png

Use this example to create a chart together with your child.  Your child puts a tick each time they complete an activity.  You sign off at the end of the day.  Give them verbal praise for what was done, encourage them to do better the next day for what was not done. 

t4.png

Together with your child, fill in the expectations/activity in the first column.  Agree on a point system (see below for an example).  Your child fills in the points earned for each activity each day.  If your child earns enough points, they can exchange them for a reward.  Once points are earned, they cannot be deducted even if your child misbehaves in other ways.  Honour the effort they made to earn those points! 


Point System

Expectations

Points

Make my bed

20

Start work on time

20

Complete work on time

40

Tidy my desk at the end of the day

10

Help (someone) with (something)

30

Followed the schedule for the day

60

Rewards

Play (game) for 10 mins

20

15 mins of screen time

30

Favourite snack

30

Go to the playground

40

Watch (TV programme)

50

(Favourite activity during the weekend)

60


Template A – Weekly Schedule
Click here to download template

Example D

Strategies for managing challenging behaviour

For students with challenging behavior, parents may try some of these strategies (Mendoza, McKeithan, Griswold, 2019)

Behaviour

Response

Refuses to read

Use an audiobook; ask the child to follow along as they listen. Try having the child use a talent like coloring, drawing or building with manipulatives to keep hands busy while listening. Leave close captioning on when watching TV to reinforce sight words.

Verbally answers questions, but not write them down

It is ok to write “verbally completed with mum” at the top of a worksheet if the child is not willing to fill it out for themselves some days. Video verbal answers for additional documentation.

Refusing to work

Try switching subject matter. Take a break; work a special interest into that topic. Gently discern the purpose (or function) of the refusal and address it.

Frustrated, bored or tired

Take a break; add in physical activity. This can be overt with a quick discussion on managing their own symptoms with physical activity, or discreetly if the child is not agreeable to using activity.

Distracted by electronics

Integrate access to electronics at the end of an activity or include the need for electronics within an activity (find a picture or video that best represents a concept). Change the Wi-Fi password or use an app that allows you to control access to the electronic and internet usage.

Meltdown

Set aside the lesson. The child needs their sensory, emotional, and physical symptoms taken care of above all else. Learning cannot happen at this time.

Inappropriate social behaviour and/or destructive

To focus on behavioural goals first (before the academic lesson)