Learning at Home

This is understandably a stressful time for families. It is important for your child to continue their learning but it will not look like a normal school day. As a parent or caregiver of a student in a French immersion program, it may not be possible for all learning to take place in French. This is understandable given the unique circumstances we are all facing. Anything you can do to expose your child to the French language is beneficial, but teaching the language is not your primary role.

You are there to support your child’s learning, but the teacher is responsible for organizing and directing the learning experiences of students in French. For those parents or caregivers who do speak French, try to have as many conversations as possible with your child in French and read French language books with them. The most important thing you can do is to read to and with your child in whatever language is spoken at home. This will support literacy learning in French.

While home computers and other devices can be helpful, they are not essential. Your child’s teacher will continue to support learning with or without technology, and can use everyday activities, events and materials to assist in your child’s learning.

Well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic is also important. Take some time for physical and artistic activities, breaks, and family time. Parents or caregivers of French immersion students who don’t speak French may feel a little bit of anxiety around French-language learning. However, remember why you chose the French immersion program. French language learning is a life-long endeavour and you are not in this alone. You are still working with your child’s teacher, a critical member of your support team in your child’s learning of French.

Here are some suggestions for all parents and caregivers.

Set Routines

Changes in daily routines can be stressful for your child. Try to keep normal but flexible routines when possible. Try to make small changes gradually, rather than all at the same time. Creating a weekly schedule can help your child feel secure, reduce stress, and help them develop healthy habits. When making a weekly schedule, consider the following questions:

  1. What does your child’s regular morning routine look like? What do they need to do to get ready for the day? When does your child usually sleep and have meals?
  2. When does your child learn best? When will they do academic work and communicate with their teachers and classmates? What is the plan for screen time?
  3. When will your child have free play and breaks? When will your child have daily physical activity, do chores, and fulfill their other responsibilities?
  4. When is the best time for family time and communicating with others?
  5. As you think about your family’s weekly schedule, is there flexibility and balance among academic learning, physical activity, and quiet time? Is there a balance with spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental health?

Create a Space for Learning

Learning can take place in many places in your home or even outside (weather permitting while keeping physical distancing). It is still important to have a quiet, comfortable place that is dedicated for your child to work. It will help them stay focused and organized.

Create this space with your child and consider these questions:

  1. Is this space quiet with few distractions?
  2. Is there a desk, table, or other work surface at a comfortable height for your child?
  3. Are there windows and sufficient lighting?
  4. Is there enough storage for supplies and materials like pencils, notebooks, and paper?
  5. Is it easy to access a telephone, computer/tablet, or other technology (if available)?

 Help Your Child

The kinds of supports you provide your child may change, as well as how often you have to provide them. You will likely need to make adjustments as you and your child settle into daily routines and as the learning activities and assignments change. Here are some suggestions on ways to help all learners.

  • Be patient with your child and yourself. The most important thing is for your child to feel safe, loved, and supported while learning from home during this complex time.
  • Be curious and let your child know you are interested in what they are learning by asking questions and sharing your own wonderings.
  • Relax and appreciate that learning takes time, perseverance, and practice. This is also a good opportunity to make meaningful connections.
  • Encourage positive communication when learning together. Negative comments can hurt self-esteem and confidence.
  • Reinforce good work habits and celebrate and share your child’s learning and successes.
  • Make opportunities to learn in the natural environment with the world around them (when it is possible).
  • Keep in touch with your child’s teachers for guidance and support with learning at home. Telephone and video chats are great ways to stay connected with teachers, friends, and family.

Early Years

  • Find a balance with school material, physical activity, and quiet time. Be flexible with your family’s schedule. If your child is getting frustrated with learning, stop and do something else. Make a snack, read a book, work on a puzzle, or play a game. Later, let your child talk about their frustration.
  • Make sure you and your child get breaks for meals and snacks, physical activity, playtime, music, and quiet time. Consider when your child may need a “brain break,” or if they need more learning support. Sometimes more frequent short breaks are better than a few long breaks.
  • Offer encouragement and acknowledge your child’s efforts and achievements. If you are feeling a sense of joy and enthusiasm, your child likely will too.
  • Create a positive environment and attitude that reinforces the joy and excitement of learning. Variety can keep things fresh.

Middle Years

    Most learners aged 11 to 14 are becoming more independent.

  • Connect with your child’s teacher. Maintaining regular communication with your child’s teachers allows you to discuss ways you can support your child’s learning and growing independence.
  • Plan together with your child. Help your child set priorities, establish daily routines, and organize weekly schedules that ensure a balance of academic work, social engagement, and physical exercise.
  • Encourage and support your child’s ongoing learning. Ensure your child has some time and space for independent learning on their own. Asking questions about their work and thinking aloud will help children process and show that you value their learning. Remind them that questions are important and that they need to keep asking their teacher questions.
  • Nurture your child’s social development by creating a supportive community (help lines, parents/caregivers, peers, counsellors, and Elders/Knowledge Keepers) while following social (physical) distancing requirements. Encourage your child to connect by phone, computer, or other devices.

Senior Years

    Most Senior Years learners will work closely with their teachers and will require minimal support for their coursework from parents and caregivers.

  • Offer encouragement to your child by asking about what they are learning and how their learning connects to life outside the classroom.
  • Understand that your teen may face challenges or frustration and this may be part of the learning process for dealing with the stress they are feeling during this difficult time. Discuss with them how they are trying to overcome difficulties.
  • Help your teen set aside time and a place for learning and work within a realistic schedule. Encourage students to keep a physical planner to organize assignments for different classes and to prioritize tasks. This will help them with organization and time management, and help them maintain a healthy work-life balance.
  • Help your teen with future planning as they make decisions about their next steps.
  • Encourage your teen to nurture their social connections remotely. Help them create a supportive community with help lines, parent/guardians, peers, and Elders/Knowledge Keepers (while following social distancing requirements).

 Additional Resources to Support Learning at Home

Deep Learning Partnerships at Home
This series of short articles explores ho  learning on the home front does not have to be boring. Deep Learning educators share how they are facilitating learning with their own children during these trying circumstances.