Advice Column, Education, Impaq, Parenting

Studying from home: Impaq learners and parents share their tips (part 2)

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  • Category Advice Column, Education, Impaq, Parenting

While some schools in some provinces have recently opened, many learners are still learning at home. Some learners have taken to homeschooling like a duck to water, but others are finding it a bit more challenging, even after a couple of months. Impaq’s learners are always home-based, so we asked them, their parents, and tutors to share their tips on how to study from home on Impaq’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Make learning fun

While this might be easier said than done, it is possible! Paul and Alicia Jordaan say the key to having children do their schoolwork is to “make activities fun”. Work with your children to find a way to make their schoolwork more interesting, if they find it boring. Tutor and teacher, Ntando Mayo, agrees: “Learning should be made fun and the best way to explain concepts is to relate them to our day-to-day activities”. 

In this digital age, there is a wide range of media that can help make learning more interesting, most notable videos relating to the subject (such as Impaq’s free online classes for Grade R – 12 learners). Not only is more information absorbed when watching a video, but learners also tend to find watching videos more fun than reading seemingly endless pages of text.

Find a time to study that works

We all know that we tend to think of ourselves as either “early birds” or “night owls”, and the same is true for teenage learners. Molopo Abram personally finds it easier to study late at night: “I study at midnight because there’s no one moving around in the house and there’s no noise”.

Of course, this study technique is applicable only for older learners, but homeschooling does allow for the flexibility to choose the study time that suits learners best. 

Related: Five tips on how to motivate your teen during lockdown

Use the Pomodoro Technique

@TheShaya1826 recommends using the Pomodoro Technique for “maximum absorption of material”. The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management technique that was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique consists of working for relatively short intervals of 25 minutes each, separated by brief 5-minute breaks. The intervals are known as a “Pomodoro” (Italian for “tomato”), named after Cirillo’s kitchen timer that was shaped like a tomato. After the first 3 breaks or 3 “Pomodoros”, you extend breaks to 10 or 15 minutes. 

The technique works because it creates a mild sense of urgency, which motivates learners to get work/learning done. It also gives them the recuperation time their brains and bodies need!

Organise notes in advance

We’ve mentioned the need to create study planners, schedules and timetables, but those are no good if allocated learning and working time are spent rifling through stacks of notes or a multitude of digital documents. @leahkaylene04 explains: “I organise [sic] my work according to modules … I download and print my notes prior to studying as this reduces stress and saves time”. 

There are many ways learners can organise their notes, whether that be according to subject type or difficulty, whether it be with colours or patterns, anything that works – as long as it means the learner’s notes are ready and waiting when study time rolls around!

Work with the curriculum

This sounds obvious, but it’s important to work with the curriculum, not against it. Charmaine de Wet explains: “Don’t be a slave to curriculums or tons of worksheets. It must work for you and your child and not you work for it. If it becomes overwhelming, slow down. Education should be quality, not quantity”. 

As much as the workload needs to be manageable for your child, it needs to be manageable for you, the parent or guardian. It’s impossible to help your child if you are feeling overwhelmed, so do regular check-ins to see how both of you are coping with the lesson material.

Related: Eight reasons why Impaq is the best choice as curriculum provider

Keep the channels of communication open 

Although lockdown regulations have softened a little bit, we’re still in a nationwide lockdown with restrictions none of us thought we’d see, and your children know this as well as you do. It’s vital to keep the channels of communication open with your child, so they feel they can talk to you about their feelings or concerns. A stressed or upset child is not a productive one, so ensure that you can help talk them through their worries and anxieties. 

Our Managing Director for Home, Louise Schoonwinkel, says: “Learning can’t take place if children feel anxious or uncertain. It’s important to have a conversation with your child about the changes – what the Coronavirus is, why the schools are closed, why mom and dad are working from home, etc”. 

Regard your child as a student

For all intents and purposes, your child now is your student, and it’s important to adapt your behaviour accordingly (while all the time remembering you’re not actually a teacher, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it hard to take on that role). Nantando Mayo reminds us that “homeschooling/teaching your own child can be challenging but if you want to do a great job the trick is don’t treat them like your own child, instead treat them like you would treat your students”.

By Jacqui Smit

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