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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

School at home: It’s not bad, but I miss my friends

Learning at home has been an exercise in responsibility and time management

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s Year 2 student Shubh Pandya’s second day of homeschooling.

His mum Dhara did a few tasks with him, including making slime from scratch, so he was measuring and pouring and stirring.

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“It was a fun task for him, but it incorporated calculation and maths and investigation,” his dad Niraj told Indian Link.

With schools across Australia strongly encouraging students to stay at home from school (with the exception of children whose parents have to work), families are adapting to a new style of learning. Schools provide lesson plans, sometimes personalised, which the parents facilitate at home.  

Shubh’s family was relieved to have the option to school at home, as the young boy has a history of respiratory infection problems.

“Dhara and I are confident we will be able to handle it well for Shubh, even though we have a younger child at home not yet at school,” Niraj revealed. “With the ClassDojo app we are able to keep in touch with the school community.”

For older kids like Vidushi Trivedi in Year 9, learning at home has been an exercise in responsibility and time management.

“I sign in at 8.30 am through the school’s Canvas page to start my day and then do my subjects in the same order I would do them in school (including recess and lunch breaks but smaller). School has given us a plan that goes until 2pm but I work until 4, giving me that extra 2 hours to do anything I may need to complete and log what I did during the day. We hand in our worksheets digitally to our teachers.”

She added, “We have a certain amount of time for each subject each week (eg. English is 4 hours a week). This gives us freedom to do our work and figure out our own breaks.”

Students receive alternate tasks as a replacement for tests and can even hand in videos of assignments like a video essay. They receive descriptions of exercises and worksheets to complete and are encouraged to utilise online resources as well.

Of course, many students don’t feel like this can replace face-to-face learning.

“I miss school because you get explanations for the work you are doing from teachers,” Vidushi explained, “The best we can do is watch YouTube videos on the topic, but it is not the same. It’s especially hard to study subjects you aren’t strong in, without any explanations.”

Another sore point is the loss of social interaction. “I miss being with friends, getting help from them or even doing group projects with them.”

Shannon Rawat, a Year 6 student in her first week of home-schooling, feels the same way. “I prefer school because we can ask questions directly. We can interact with our friends. The overall experience is better,” she said.

While parents admit that this new routine can be challenging, they see it as valuable time spent with their children.

“I love being able to connect with the kids in this manner,” said Melissa Domingo Rawat, mother of Shannon and 5-year-old Jaden, “I believe this season is one we will look back on fondly in years to come – that time when the world stood still and we suddenly met each other on a whole other level.”

With Rhea L Nath

READ ALSO: Homeschooling: Issues to consider

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Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni Anand Luthra
Rajni is the Editor of Indian Link.

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