Studying from home: Impaq learners and parents share tips

Impaq offers free online classes for grades R to 12

Impaq's parents and tutors share their tips on how to study from home.
Impaq's parents and tutors share their tips on how to study from home.
Image: Supplied/Impaq

While some SA schools have recently opened, many pupils are still learning at home. Some have taken to homeschooling like a ducks 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. Parents 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, says: “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 to 12 learners). Not only is more information absorbed when watching a video, but learners also tend to find it 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 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. 

Read more: Five tips on how to motivate your teen during lockdown

An Impaq parent recommends using the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s.
An Impaq parent recommends using the Pomodoro Technique, a time-management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 80s.
Image: Supplied/Impaq

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 five-minute breaks. The intervals are known as a pomodoros (tomatoes in Italian), named after Cirillo’s kitchen timer that was shaped like a tomato. After the first three breaks or three 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 says: “I organise my work according to modules ... I download and print my notes before studying as this reduces stress and saves time." 

There are many ways learners can organise their notes. You can use colours or patterns for subject type or difficulty levels — anything that works, as long as it means the learner’s notes are ready 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 says: “Don’t be a slave to curricula or tons of worksheets. It must work for you and your child, and not you working 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.

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

Tutor and teacher Ntando Mayo says learning should be made fun.
Tutor and teacher Ntando Mayo says learning should be made fun.
Image: Supplied/Impaq

Keep the channels of communication open 

Though 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. 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 you can help talk them through their worries and anxieties. 

MD for home at Impaq, 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, and so on”. 

Regard your child as a student

For all intents and purpo

ses, your child is now 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).

“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,” says Mayo.

This article was paid for by Impaq.

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