Education news

Trying to homeschool because of coronavirus? Here are 5 tips to help your child learn

A number of schools in Australia have shut after students and staff tested positive for COVID-19. And some private schools have moved to online classes pre-emptively.

Many parents are keeping their children home as a precaution for various reasons. Attendance in schools has fallen, by as much as 50% in some.

The current medical advice is for schools to remain open and for children to go to school, unless they are unwell. But if your child is staying home from school, you may be wondering how you can support their learning.

Here are some things you can do to help your child learn from home.

1. Set up a learning space
Create an area in the house for your child to be able to focus on learning. There are no clear guidelines on what a learning area should look like. In fact schools have found creating learning areas or spaces to be a challenge. This is because every child has individual ways of learning, so what works for one may not work for another.

Home learning has an advantage in that it can cater to the individual child. As long as the student can focus and be safe, there are no limits to where the learning can take place. Feel free to allow children different places to learn, whether lying on the ground or sitting at a table – whatever works best for them.

But try to limit distractions. Turning the TV off and switching off app notifications will help.

Read more: How to avoid distractions while studying, according to science

2. Think about the technology you’ll need
It’s worth checking what programs you will need to access the work the school send. You may need Adobe Acrobat Reader (which is free) or any specific video players such as Abode Flashplayer.

If they are not free, it’s worth checking if the school has a shared license or access package you can use. Companies are offering some online programs and services free during the COVID-19 period. Adobe, for instance, is offering school IT administrators free access to its Creative Cloud facilities until May 2020.

You may also need to download teleconferencing facilities such as Zoom or Skype that teachers may use to deliver lessons. These are free, but make sure you are downloading from the official developers, as some other sites may expose your computer to malware.

3. Create a structure
Make sure your children do not just see this as an extended holiday but as normal school, from home. It’s important to create a structure.

Mainstream schools have a timetabled structure throughout the week, so rather than disrupting your child’s routine, you might wish to follow your child’s school routine.


The advice is to aim for the time frames provided by the schools, and then be flexible depending on how your child is progressing.

There are no hard and fast rules as to how long your child studies for, or where.
Communication is key. Keep checking in with your children as to how they are progressing, offering help as they feel they need it.

This is how teachers work continually throughout the day with the 20 to 30 children in their classroom.

We all need to process new learning so allow children time to relax between learning periods. But there are no hard and fast rules over how many breaks they should have or how long these should be. Research shows giving children freedom to choose how they learn, and how long for, can increase their motivation.

4. Get to know what your child should know
If your child’s school has moved to online learning, as a supervising adult you will be more a teacher’s aide or facilitator rather than a replacement teacher. It’s likely schools will provide learning materials, although some may not if the school is still open and your child is staying home for other reasons. It’s worth checking with the school, either way.

For each year level schools apply their state mandated curriculum based on the Australian Curriculum to create a year long program of work. Any work sent home by the school will be based on the appropriate age and stage of the curriculum to ensure students maintain their progression.

This is key, in particular, for year 11 and 12 students who must maintain focus on their studies for the end of year exams.

Read more: Homeschooling is on the rise in Australia. Who is doing it and why?

It can be useful to know why schools choose certain types of work for students to do. So you may wish to browse through the state and territory curriculum documents (NSW, VIC, WA, SA, ACT, NT, TAS and QLD)

Key to understanding these sometimes confusing and complex documents is looking for outcomes and indicators – such as this for year 5 English. You can find all of this information in the relevant year level and subject category.

Outcomes are, in simplest form, the goal a child is to achieve at a certain level. Indicators are the suggested ways your child will show their achievements.

All aspects of the Australian Curriculum can be downloaded as required. States and territory regulators offer guides to understand each curriculum, such as Victoria.

5. Be around to help, but don’t get in the way
States and territories are putting supporting information online for how the parents can be a teacher’s guide and facilitator.

If your child is finding a particular task difficult, be available to make suggestions and answer questions, but try to let them do things themselves as much as possible.

If you don’t know the answer, work with your child to discover a solution. Let your child, where possible, self regulate – that is to take control of their own learning and not rely on you.

Read more: How to help your kids with homework (without doing it for them)

You may need to take your child back a step to reinforce a concept before they move onto a new one. An example might be in long division, where reinforcing decimal points, or even subtraction, needs to be revised first.

If all else fails…
There are many online support activities for children learning from home. Where possible try to only use those from official education authorities. The NSW home schooling regulator (NESA) has published some links for home schooling families, that anyone can use.

If you are lost in what to do, then encourage your child to read. Model reading, get your children books and discuss them. Developing a love for reading in your children will help them in all learning areas, no matter how long they don’t physically go into school.



The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren't enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don't know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception. The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students. So if you want to become a successful student, don't get discouraged, don't give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you'll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren't enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don't know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception. The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students. So if you want to become a successful student, don't get discouraged, don't give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you'll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

1. Don't attempt to cram all your studying into one session.

Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it's time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

Supporting children and young people to cope with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic

  • If you are concerned your child has COVID-19 please call the dedicated hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit for more information.

    Many parents are looking for advice about how to best support their children to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. With the situation rapidly changing, frequent news of people becoming unwell, and many children unable to continue with their normal activities, it is a very unsettling time for families. This fact sheet contains some information for parents and carers to help them support their children and answer their questions during this challenging and uncertain time.                                                                                                                                      

    Talk about coronavirus with your children   

    It’s important not to avoid talking about coronavirus with your children - avoiding the topic may make them feel more worried and unsure about what’s going on. Many children will already have thoughts and ideas about coronavirus, so start by asking them what they know. Use open-ended questions and address any worries, fear or false information they may have heard. It’s okay to tell kids that we don’t have all the answers but when we know more we will share it with them.

    Be open and honest, but age-appropriate

    Stick to the facts, but think about your child’s age when sharing information with them. Children of different ages will need different answers. Keep it simple and clear for young kids and provide more detailed information for older children and teenagers.  

    It’s important to remind children that although they might catch the virus, it is unlikely to make them very unwell. Tell them that if they do get sick it will be similar to a cold that they may have experienced before. They may get a fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat and be sick for a few days or around a week, and they will get better. It’s okay to tell children that adults are more likely to get sick, especially if they are elderly or have a medical condition. Let them know that most of the strategies they see in the community, like hand washing and social distancing, are actually to help protect the most vulnerable. By doing these things they are helping to protect others.  

    Stay positive and hopeful 

    It is helpful to stay positive and hopeful when discussing coronavirus with your children. Often the media focuses on worrying and negative aspects, so your children may become overwhelmed and think the situation is hopeless. Explain that there are lots of doctors and scientists working really hard to find out about this virus, and that they are learning new things every day. Let them know that many people around the world have recovered from coronavirus. It’s important for them to know that although things are different at the moment, and may be hard for a while, things will eventually return to normal.  

    Limit information children get through the media 

    There is lots of information in the media about coronavirus and it is likely that your children are seeing and hearing this through the TV, radio and online. Try to limit how much your child watches, hears and reads in the news, including on social media. Seeing graphic images or reading about the increasing number of cases of coronavirus can become overwhelming and upsetting. It’s especially important to try to limit your child’s exposure to frightening material in the news or online.  

    Focus on the things children can control

     We need to help children focus on what they can do to stay safe and healthy. By giving children practical things that they can do will help them to feel empowered rather than helpless. Remind children about hand hygiene – make sure they know how to wash their hands properly and remind them to do this before and after they eat, as well as after touching their face or blowing their nose. See our video on keeping well. Teach them how to cough or sneeze into their elbow. Remind them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Where possible, crowds should be avoided and people should refrain from close physical contact with people outside of their household. Show kids how to greet each other hands-free such as by touching elbows or feet.  

    Keeping well through physical activity, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep are also really important ways to support your children. Lots of children are disappointed that their regular sport and other activities may be cancelled. Find other ways to keep your kids active, such as spending time in the backyard or going for a family walk, run or bike ride.    

    Stick to routines where possible 

    Children need routine more than ever during uncertain and unpredictable times. Maintain as much normality in the house and daily life as you can and include family time. You can structure your child’s routine around meal time and bedtimes, as well as online learning activities for older children. Try to factor some physical activity into the day, as this is important for children of all ages, and good for adults too.    

    Show your children that you are calm 

    Children look to their parents and carers as a guide about how to react to situations. Even very young children are sensitive to stress and anxiety in adults. Parents and carers need to manage their own emotions and anxiety to help keep kids calm. Try not to talk to children about coronavirus when you are feeling particularly stressed or overwhelmed. You can ask your partner or another trusted adult to speak with them.  

    Look out for signs of anxiety or stress in your children 

    Everyone reacts differently in stressful situations. Some children are naturally more anxious than others, and coronavirus may affect them a lot. Keep an eye out for highly anxious or unusual behaviour in your children. Younger children may show signs such as a change in behaviour, being more emotional, having temper tantrums or trouble sleeping or eating. Older children can show these signs too or they may also appear distracted, have trouble concentrating or become forgetful. Some children may develop repetitive or obsessive behaviours, such as excessive fear of germs or contamination.  

    Make sure you keep having conversations with your children about other things besides COVID-19. Take the time to sit with your child and listen to what they are worried about. If you are concerned that your child is showing signs of high levels of anxiety or stress, seek advice from your GP.  

    Look after yourself too 

    Uncertain and stressful times can put a lot of strain on family relationships. In order to best support children, it is important that parents look after themselves too during this very stressful and difficult time. Try to find time for adequate rest and self-care. If you are feeling particularly stressed, overwhelmed or unsafe, or that you are not able to support your children in the way that you would like, please reach out to family and friends or your GP.


    Key points to remember  

    • Children look to adults as a guide about how to react in stressful situations
    • Stay calm, positive and hopeful when talking with your child about coronavirus
    • Keep information clear, honest and age-appropriate
    • Limit media exposure about coronavirus
    • Give children practical things to do, like good hand hygiene, to help them feel in control
    • Make sure you and your child stay physically active
    • If you or your child are feeling overwhelmed or stressed seek help from friends, family or your GP
    • Try to make time to answer your child’s questions and keep the communication channels open  

    For more information


If you wander into the kitchen of a busy family, you may feel like you’ve entered into the command post of an international mission. Multi-colour-coded calendars cover the refrigerator, while bulletin boards are covered with birthday invitations, team snack schedules, and permission forms.

Organizing the schedule of everyone in the family can be a true juggling act — keeping all the balls in the air (without inadvertently misplacing a ballet slipper) is challenging. Yet with a few helpful tricks up your sleeve you can de-complicate scheduling and manage your family’s activities with greater ease.

It starts with being mindful about how you pick your children’s activities. The next step is managing that calendar.

Keep on top of the activity schedule
While some people seem to have the knack of keeping a schedule in their head, the majority of us need help to keep on top of a complicated itinerary without missing a beat (or a class). Visual reminders, help from others, and a whole lot of preparation go a long way in running a family schedule.

Write it down. The most common method of effective planning is the good old calendar. If you’re in the camp that still likes to put pen to paper, ensure you pick a calendar with plenty of room for writing activities on each day of the month. And more importantly, make sure you use it! Each member of the family can have a colour for their activities and each activity should be listed clearly with the time and location. Keep the calendar in a high traffic area in the house such as the kitchen and refer to it daily with your kids to ensure you’re all heading in the right direction. When your child plays team sports, the venue for each game and practice can be different from week to week. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen kids show up at a wrong location for a game. (And the number of times the parents of said kids have looked frazzled as they realize they have to sprint to a different venue).
Track it with tech. Technology has come a long way in helping with scheduling too. Google Calendar is a great, free, alternative to the wall calendar. You can enter all your family’s activities, locations, repeating dates, colour coded for each person, sync it up to your smartphone, and give access to anyone who needs it. If your child is on a team, one of the best tech team planning tools is a website called TeamSnap. (In fact, Active for Life has just partnered with TeamSnap because we love how the site makes life easier for coaches and families, but I’ve been using it with my family for months and we love it.) Your team manager can use the site’s various tools to keep the whole team informed of everything to do with the team. Your manager can set up the site to send out game and practice reminders, set up snack duty schedules, and can use the site to send out emails to the team about any important events (like parent parties). The site is also invaluable as you can let your coach know ahead of time if your child will or won’t be able to attend a game by ticking off which dates they will or won’t be present. It’s also a great spot for the team to post team photos, handbooks about team rules, videos to help the kids improve their skills, etc. And for me, the best part is that the team schedule syncs right up with my smartphone calendar so I know exactly when and where each event is taking place.
Be Prepared. This isn’t just the motto of the Boy Scouts or a catchy song from the Lion King soundtrack. It’s also the most important requirement for every parent with busy kids. Being prepared means checking in with your partner to see who’s going to be available for driving duty. It means making up a menu plan (with your kids’ input) at the beginning of the week so that on days with activities at dinner time, meals can be simple, made-ahead, or portable. Being prepared also means setting out uniforms and filling water bottles the night before as well as having a stash of healthy snacks and juice boxes on hand for snack duty. It’s not always easy to think days ahead, but when you can, you will save yourself a whole lot of stress.
Buddy up. Having your child in an activity with a friend not only means your child will have an automatic partner in a group, it also means another parent to assist with driving duties. Car pooling has saved our family countless hours in the car. With three other boys in the neighbourhood on the same hockey team as our son, our four families have pooled the driving duties for years. As the boys can be on the ice up to five times a week, car pooling has been the best way to put aside time for other kids’ activities, for taking stock of the rest of the week, or for simply taking a deep breath and enjoying other pursuits.
Line up sitters. Speaking of others helping out, sometimes you need to call in extra reinforcements. Keep a healthy list of reliable babysitters on hand for those times when the schedule is just not running smoothly due to a sick child or any other unforeseen incidents.
While their pursuits often mean a busy schedule for their parents, the successful organization of this schedule is ultimately a winning scenario for the entire family.

How to be a Successful Remote Learner

Establish a study routine
A study routine is a weekly plan for when you complete school work, just like your
school timetable. It helps you to be organised and productive, so you can create good
learning habits outside of the classroom. Your teacher will have provided you with
classwork, a course planner and may have even suggested a study plan. An example is a school Timetable, you should be completing:
English 4 hours a week
Maths 4 hours a week
Humanities 2 hours a week
Science 2 hours a week
Electives 4 hours a week
= 3+ hours a day, 5 days a week
What does a study routine look like?
A study routine should look similar to how you prepare for school each day:
- Wake up at the same time each day
- Have a big breakfast, shower, brush your teeth and get dressed
- Be in your learning space on time and arrive prepared
- Stay on task: complete two hours of study with a 10-minute break in between
11:00am: Have lunch, a rest or get some exercise
12:00pm: Complete another hour of study
1:00pm: Finish study. Spend time completing other hobbies or activities.
Establish good habits – follow your plan consistently, habits help carry you through
during any periods when you might be busy, tired or just down on motivation,

Study Routine Tips:
Separate home from studying
It is very important to keep your home life and school life separate. You can do this by
setting up a space in your home where you can do your school work each day with
limited distraction. It is best to make this space outside of your bedroom, or at a desk.
Make it a space where you can keep all your resources and have visual prompts like
course planners, a calendar and study plan/timetable.
Eliminate distractions
When you are completing school work in your chosen space, try to eliminate any
distractions like: TV, phones, social media, socializing with family etc. This will help you
stay focused on your set task.
Make yourself visible
Stay connected with your teachers, peers and friends. Make sure you are contributing
to your class OneNote or Online Learning Management System and uploading all the work that you
complete. Your teacher should be able to easily check in on you and your progress.
Create a structure
Have a copy of your course planners printed and put somewhere you can see them
every day, probably where your study space is set up.
Follow Plan, allocate time and access resources – texts, videos, blogs etc.
Figure out when you work best
Study when you are well rested and alert. You may want to begin your study earlier or
later in the day, just make sure you are completing at least 3 hours.
Building your community
You should have a group of friends and peers that you can keep in touch with regularly
to collaborate and discuss school work, but also to support each other.
Look after your well-being
Make sure you are taking the time to exercise, eat healthy and complete activities that
you enjoy also.
How to know if you’re successful?
You are motivated through your thoughts and actions, willing to engage and complete
tasks, and display persistence and self-belief that you can succeed.

Go to top Cron Job Starts