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COVID-19: Schooling from home

Online learning from home is a big change. Here are some tips, tricks and ideas that might help!

Teen working on a laptop, surrounded by books and wearing a headset

Is online learning a big change for you?

If you’re used to showing up to the classroom five days per week, switching to online learning at home might feel pretty weird. And that’s normal!

The good news is, there are lots of ways you can help yourself to adjust to this change.

Our Kids Helpline @ School team have been connecting with students virtually for many years, running educational sessions. In that time, they’ve also worked with students who are learning remotely or doing distance education. 

We asked these counsellors and students for some info and tips to help you learn from home like a pro.

We've compiled their tips for you below!

On Insta, you told us that skipping the stuff you hated about school, like bullying, was one of the main reasons you loved online learning from home.

Different people have different learning styles

Some people thrive at school, and some people find it a struggle.

There are lots of factors that influence this, but some of this comes down to personality.

Introverts generally like to learn independently with less distractions, while extroverts might prefer to work in a group. 

Not sure which you are? Check out our short quiz. 

Get organised

Research has shown that being disorganised and living in a cluttered environment can increase stress levels. Being organised can reduce ‘mental load’, as it’s easier to remember where things are, or where you are up to with a particular assignment. 

Here are some organisation ideas:

Use a planner – whether paper or app

Break big tasks into little steps

Have a dedicated schoolwork space

Set reminders for important due dates

Spend some time at the start of the day planning your workload

At the end of each day, review your work and plan tomorrow

Have a routine

Did you know that our brains get ‘cues’ from our environment in order to prepare for what’s coming?

For example, the smell of onions frying and the routine of setting the table lets your brain know ‘food is coming’, and can actually help prepare your body for digestion. 

Having a routine before bed, such as brushing your teeth, gentle stretching or reading a book can help your body prepare for sleep. 

Having a dedicated space and routine for learning can help you mentally prepare to learn and remember.

Routine ideas:

  • Have some pre-learning rituals that help you get ready for learning, e.g. eat a healthy breakfast
  • Put distractions away when it’s time for learning
  • Make sure you have proper breaks to eat and get fresh air/exercise
  • Have a de-stress/wind down from school rituals, e.g. do some exercise

Make the most of the good bits

There are some great things about learning at home. Enjoy and make the most of them!

Here are some things you might be enjoying:

Sleeping in

Going at your own pace

Having a pet as a classmate

Eating fresher food for lunch (goodbye squashed sandwich)

Sometimes getting work done faster without distractions

Doing whatever you want at lunchtime, e.g. playing Xbox

We asked you on Insta whether you loved or hated online learning from home. 63% hated it and 37% loved it.

Troubleshoot the bad bits

Dislike video calls? Find it hard to concentrate in your living room? Miss chatting with your friends?

If there are bits about online learning you dislike or find hard, it can be helpful to look for possible solutions.

Here’s a great way to solve problems:

Problem: Define what the issue is.
Options: What are some different options?
Outcomes: What are the outcomes for the different options?
Choose: Pick one option to try.
How did it go? Make sure you reflect on whether it worked or not. If it didn't work, choose another option and try again.

Prepare for setbacks

If your dream job includes working from home/being your own boss, use this as a way to learn and practice the skills you will need to be successful, especially when stuff goes wrong.

  • Concentration comes and goes. Scheduling regular ‘mini-breaks’ can help you take in more info.
  • Have a plan for tech issues. Sometimes your WIFI just dies for no reason. Know what to do/who to tell if that happens.
  • Misunderstandings will happen. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in a way that you feel comfortable doing (even after the fact).

"How do I deal with quarantine or lockdown in an abusive household?"

We have received some questions from young people who are feeling unsafe at home when in quarantine or lockdown. If you need support for any reason (including safety planning around ways to stay safe) or feel very unsafe, please get in touch!

Having an awesome social life in the times of social distancing

Staying at home doesn't mean interactions with your friends and family will stop. The aim is to be physically distanced, not socially isolated. Now more than ever is a great time to start exploring digital ways to connect with those you care about. We've listed some fun ways to interact with your mates online below!

Study smart, not hard

You can hack your study habits by understanding how your brain learns (and remembers) new info. Before we look at hacks, let’s go over how your brain learns new things and gets better at them over time:

  • First, your brain has to grow new brain cells and then get them to form new ‘neural pathways’ (connections). 
  • Then, every time you practice, rehearse, or remember that info, the neural connections get stronger.
  • Finally, with enough practice and rehearsal, you will ‘learn’ the info and it becomes easy to remember or do.

Brain hacks for learning

Now that you know how the brain learns, here are some ways you can use that to your advantage:

  • Rehearse in your mind. When you watch or imagine something, your brain responds as if you were actually physically doing it. This kind of mental rehearsal can speed up learning, especially for practical classes like PE or drama!
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a time when you grow new brain cells, and also when you move info from short-term to long-term memory.
  • Create associations/connections between stuff you know well, and new information. For example, using a tune you know well to make up a song about maths equations, or creating a comic book on World War II are creative ways that make it easier to remember a lot of information.
  • Use creativity to learn. Re-reading your notes isn’t the most effective way to learn or remember information. Applying the knowledge is! For example, you might explain a scientific theory to your parents while cooking dinner, or organise a fun ‘trivia’ based on your geography syllabus to help you learn and remember.

If online learning is making you feel all sorts of new things, that’s normal.

You can get in touch with us 24/7 for extra support.

Give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email anytime, for any reason.

This content was last reviewed 12/05/2020

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