Tips for parents

Extending learning at home

Most schools have developed activities for parents and learners to work together to extend school work into the home so as for learning to continue during this trying period. To maximise learning outcomes and achievements during this period, we advise parents to provide a quiet place and a regular time for homework and other learning activities.

Creating a routine for studying - space and time

Routines are important because they give children a sense of security and help them develop patterns of self- discipline. A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, and to develop a sense of mastery in a safe secure environment. As this sense of mastery is strengthened, it then persuades a child to tackle larger challenges. Helping children feel safe and ready to take on new challenges is one of parent’s responsibilities. Structure and routines allows children to internalise constructive habits and function well with others. Establishing a family routine with regular mealtimes, bedtimes, homework time, and outdoor play and exercise time is important. Sharing time with family in a structured routine gives a child a sense of meaning, belonging and security.

It is a parental responsibility to make the home a suitable environment for learning. Part of this includes ensuring that there is space for the child to study. Additionally, having a set time and space to do homework, kids learn how to sit themselves down to accomplish a task.

Homework to improve learning outcomes

Although parents are not expected to play the role of the teacher when it comes to school work but during this period it will greatly benefit your children if you assist them with their homework. Homework is one way of encouraging the child to study and work independently; however children need and supervision from their parents.

Parent Strategies

Parents have to make sure that their children do the homework and also check if the work is completed. Children must know that homework time is “serious business”.

You may use some of the following strategies as a guide to ensring that homework gets done:

  1. Understand the purpose of homework so that they could understand why it is important that learners should complete homework at home.
  2. Create a home environment that is conducive to learning. This includes giving parents suggestions how to set a specific time and provide a distraction-free environment where learners can complete their homework and study.
  3. Know how to monitor and what to check if homework is completed without being experts in the subject area.
  4. Support the school’s consequences if learners choose not to do their homework. These consequences may include a loss of recess time, staying after school or taking a zero on the assignment or project.
  5. Show their children how to break assignments into doable bites so the pressure won't be on the night before due date.
  6. Avoid giving learners too much help. Parent "overinvolvement" is evident when a homework assignment would be perfect, but the learner would fail the test on the same material. Clues of "take-over" or "over-involvement" are when a parent says: "How can your teacher give me such a low mark after I worked so hard?" or when a learner starts thinking: "Mom and dad will do it for me!" A correct approach is if a child has done a maths problem incorrectly, the parent shows him/her how to work a similar problem but let him/her be the one to correct it on his/her worksheet.

Learner Self-regulating Strategies

To encourage learners to take ownership of and responsibility for their own learning, the use of the following approaches (used by teachers in best-performing schools) may be of assistance:

  1. Teaching learners self-regulatory skills, including how to manage time, handle distractions and control negative emotions. Parents are urged to encourage self-reliance and responsibility, and empower their children with an "I can do it" kind of attitude. To do this, they avoid bailing their children out if they fail to do their work.
  2. Asking learners to share their work with their peers in their digital platforms: To encourage learners to take responsibility for their work, some teachers ask learners to share and discuss their homework, and this could prove useful during the pandemic.

Cooperative learning

What do you do when children are not motivated to do anything; when they just seem not to care; when, no matter what you do or say, they remain indifferent? These are questions that confront many teachers in today’s classrooms. When confronted with the same challenges, cooperative learning might just be the thing you need to turn the situation around. Defined as instructional use of small groups so that learners work together to maximize their own and each other’s learning, during this period you may encourage children to reach out (via their digital devices) to their classmates/friends and create online learning groups (WhatsApp).

How to set-up cooperative groups

  • Nature of groupings: Most top performing schools prefer heterogeneous groups than homogeneous groups because they strongly believe that different learners have more to learn from each other.
  • Size of groupings: Cooperative groups are especially effective in teams of four to five members.
  • Ground rules that guide group members: Following are six simple rules that guide cooperative group members: help each other, encourage each other, give and accept feedback.

Learner wellbeing

Children’s nutrition

Children are constantly growing and changing, and they need adequate vitamins and minerals to fuel that activity on a daily basis. Parents are encouraged to monitor and control what their children eat. Parents need to plan and budget for balanced meals that children can take eat during these holidays. All learners should be encouraged to balance their nutritional intake with regular exercise such as jogging, cycling and playing different kinds of sport.

Psychosocial well-being

A state of psychosocial well-being is when children have the competencies and capacities to deal with life’s demands and manage relationships well, enabling them to understand their environment, engage with it, make choices, and have hope for the future. The purpose of providing psychosocial support to children is to optimize their social, spiritual and emotional well-being to enable them to cope with daily demands

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