Lessons from lockdown: Parents to have their say on home learning

The coronavirus outbreak sparked a massive home learning experiment as students, teachers and parents across the country rushed to adapt to remote schooling.

With the majority of students now back at school, University of Southern Queensland researchers are investigating the impact of COVID-19 home learning on children and families.

Principal investigator Michele Wright said there were many lessons to be learned from the recent experience.

“Everyone was caught off guard by how quickly COVID-19 impacted every aspect of our lives, but it also highlighted the importance of continuing education,” she said.

“When schools started closing in March and remote learning was rolled out, parents were forced to take an expanded role in their child’s education while balancing work and other tasks

“It caused concerns for many who were unprepared to begin at-home schooling and struggled to adequately support their child’s learning needs at home.”

Mrs Wright said the study would initially focus on the home learning experiences of families with children in the early years of schooling, from kindergarten to Year 2.

“This period of a child’s life is arguably the most critical time for their development, not just for their academic literacy and numeracy skills, but also other important social and learning skills,” she said.

“Missing a few lessons might seem harmless but any disruption to a child’s education, especially in the early years, can set them back a long way.”

Parents have the chance to share their views by taking part in an online survey.

“We want to know what the benefits and challenges were, what level of support and communication they received from school, what issues they had and what they think could be done better,” Mrs Wright said.

“Their voices and insights are essential to uncovering the full picture of what students and families experienced when learning was shifted from the classroom to the household, and whether parents now want to take a more active role in their child’s schooling.

“This information could be useful for education departments, peak bodies and schools to ensure students and parents are well prepared and up to task in case there is another outbreak or other home learning opportunities.”

University of Southern Queensland researchers are looking for parents with a child in early years of school (kindergarten to Year 2) to take part in the study by completing an online survey.

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