2021 has started with a sense of déjà vu, home-schooling has started again. Or at least what we call home-schooling has restarted.
Back in March, for want of a better description we, and I include myself here, appropriated the mainly American phrase of home-schooling. But School at Home is very different from true home-schooling.
True home-schooling is completely separate from the state school system. There is no prescribed curriculum. Under Irish law, Tusla is obligated to monitor in order to ensure that the child’s legal right to a standard of education is upheld. Other than that, it is up to the parent to devise what is taught and to implement it.
Currently, we have school from home, which resembles the Australian Schools of the Air. Set up in 1951 to reach children living on remote farms, classes were taught via shortwave radio up to 2009. Now it is mainly accessed via the internet. As far as possible, the class teachers interact with their pupils on a daily basis. The teacher sets the homework and the children, with the help of their parents or other adult /sibling, works through the assigned materials. It is teacher rather than parent led and follows the national curriculum.
Interestingly, studies from the University of Western Australia have found shown that a School from the Air education has a parity with, if not better, standards than traditional methods of schooling!
Back in March, nobody was ready for the schools closing for months and everything was improvised. This time round things are different. Schools are more prepared, with pupils and teachers more comfortable with the technology being used.
It is not home-schooling where the responsibility to teacher your child rests with you. Your child is being taught remotely by a teacher in your home.
The role of the parent in this case is to assist the child. You don’t have to be the teacher! Remember that your child is used to working independently at school and so can do the same at home. At school, they will get things wrong and make mistakes. Allow them to do the same at home. They do not have to have everything correct before sending it back to the teacher.
If your child is struggling with a concept, let their teacher know. If the teacher is unaware, then they can’t address it and the likelihood is that there may well be other children in the class with the same issue. Teachers expect that some children will struggle a little at times and know how to deal with it.
Adopt a supervisory role. You don’t have to be glued to the desk beside them. Give nudges and support. Encourage your child to ask their teacher for help. And above all – avoid the competitive parents on the WhatsApp groups. This is not an audit of your parenting or teaching skills! Every household has its own dynamics and pressures, so just do what you can to support your child and allow the teacher do the teaching.
For more information on our Programs contact Elaine on 087 2996054