Tips for Harmonious Home Learning

Kalea Haran, Head of Secondary School, Australian International School, Singapore (AIS) offers advice to parents for successful and harmonious home-based learning.  

Working from home for parents, combined with home-based learning for students is a challenging time for families. At AIS we understand parents have increased demands with their children now also working from home. In the secondary school at AIS, we aimed to design a curriculum that allows students to work as independently as possible, as well as supporting their wellbeing and keeping them engaged and motivated. We are mindful that the expectations and learning during this time will look different to when the students are at school in physical classrooms.

Our main goal was not to attempt to virtualise the whole school day. Our teachers worked hard to recreate learning resources that recognise this is home-based learning, which is very different from being in the classroom. We know parents may feel worried they have to take over the role of their child’s teachers. This is not the case; parents support their children through encouragement and helping them build their independent skills. The best thing to do if your child is stuck or unsure is to encourage them to ask their classmates and teachers. However, younger children may need to be supervised more, and provided with reminders and ensure that they are on task, but we encourage parents to allow their children to attempt tasks on their own.

Home-based learning means students are facing new expectations. They are being asked to not only engage with the content being presented, but also work in a new learning environment, with the additional self-direction and self-discipline that online learning requires. This takes energy and a change in mindset. Students’ wellbeing may be affected, and they may have an emotional response, such as frustration or fatigue.

Wellbeing is an aspect AIS spent a lot of time embedding into home-based learning. On a regular school day students interact with each other, move from class to class and focus their attention from their computer to the teacher and toward different physical resources. Learning online requires that attention be largely focused on the screen. It requires students and teachers remain seated in front of their computer for more extended periods than would usually.

For this reason, AIS teachers have designed a variety of activities for students which provide opportunities to participate in a range of different activities away from the screen, as well as exercise routines and meditation that can be done at home. Pastorally, we are touching base with our students to support wellbeing through their home group and our counsellors are also contactable if needed.

This is a difficult time for families and as a school, however AIS aims to ensure all our students continue to have access to excellent teaching resources that allow for meaningful and enjoyable learning experiences.

For more on AIS’s Home Based Learning click here