'It's not a normal school year'

Government doesn't expect parents to become teachers overnight

Coronavirus
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell with her daughter Annabelle, 6, learning from home at Gunnedah. Photo: Supplied

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell with her daughter Annabelle, 6, learning from home at Gunnedah. Photo: Supplied

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With many parents helping their children learn from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Education Minister Sarah Mitchell wants to reassure them that she doesn't "expect them to become teachers overnight".

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With many parents helping their children learn from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Education Minister Sarah Mitchell wants to reassure them that she doesn't "expect them to become teachers overnight".

"We don't expect parents to become teachers overnight and we don't expect them to teach in the same way their teacher does in a classroom," Ms Mitchell said.

"But what we want them to do is use the resources that come from the school and do their best to supervise their children learning from home."

The day after NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the health advice was that schools would remain open but she encouraged parents to keep their children at home where they could, Ms Mitchell brought her six-year-old daughter Annabelle home from one of the local public schools at Gunnedah.

"When the Premier encouraged NSW parents if they could keep their children at home, I took her advice and kept her home the next day," Ms Mitchell said.

"As a parent you want to make a decision best for your children and support the school community. My husband (Anthony) and I were in a position to keep her at home and that's what we decided to do."

Related reading:Broken Hill School of the Air's top 10 education tips for parents

With the city country divide on connectivity, Ms Mitchell said the NSW Government had been supporting students where they could by procuring 4500 different devices from laptops to ipads and providing them to students who did not have them at home, prioritising year 11 and 12 students.

In areas where there was no mobile reception, Ms Mitchell said schools were pre-loading activities on ipads and USB sticks that could be posted back to teachers.

"We are trying to cover everything possible," Ms Mitchell said.

When asked if school would return in term two, Ms Mitchell said the government would be following health advice after the holidays, which start this week.

Back at home in Gunnedah, Ms Mitchell said while it had been a change, learning from home was going well so far.

"The school sent home some packs and made all the material available online, which we have been following," Ms Mitchell said.

"We really have been trying to set Annabelle up as best as we can with my husband who has been sharing the responsibility."

For little Annabelle, the best thing about learning from home is that her friends have started to write to each other and drop the letters into the mail box.

"Annabelle was missing her friends so we are using old school communication, which has been nice, she is writing a letter and is practicing spelling at the same time," Ms Mitchell said.

Your view from your school room

Video conferencing lessons showing off their new four-legged classmates, sowing a crop and studying on the dining room table are all part of the new learning from home lessons due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are some photos that our readers and Education Minister Sarah Mitchell shared of their children learning at home.

Hobbys Yards mother Sarah Ryan said the key to teaching her children from home was planning the school day.

"The transitioning to home school has been hard but the school has been great and we try to organise what we do each day," Mrs Ryan said.

"We fit farming tasks around school and make it part of their schooling where they are learning about agriculture."

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