Learning at Home – Factors for Success

Teachers in the field of education have always understood that parents/caregivers are and will remain their child’s first teacher. A strong partnership between the home and the school is important for student success. It is also understood that most parents/caregivers are not teachers by trade, and may not feel like they can be great teachers when it comes to school-related work. Supporting students and their families during this school closure and learning at home is currently our number one priority.

This article contains some information on learning at home, summarized by a lead researcher in the field of education by the name of John Hattie. You may find this helpful as we continue with the indefinite closure of schools and learning at home.

As part of his research, Hattie looks at the effects and impact that the home has on learning. According to Hattie, there are three home factors that matter pertaining to success with learning. Hattie lists parental/caregiver involvement, family communication quality, and especially parental/caregiver expectations as having the greatest impact on their child’s learning.

Hattie indicates that the climate of the home for learning matters. Having high expectations and high levels of communication (talk, talk, talk, listen, listen, listen) can make a difference. Allow for errors and mistakes as opportunities to learn, not opportunities to do it again with the hope that the second time it will magically become right. Learning should include opportunities for students to give feedback about their learning and to receive feedback about where to go next. This is a key skill of teachers, and they will continue this process during the closure. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to do the same with feedback when and where they can, acknowledging that most parents/caregivers are not teachers by trade.

Hattie also suggests that any sense by the child that they are under constant parental/caregiver surveillance may lead to decreased impact of learning at home. Teachers learn to set high expectations, then monitor for independence and provide support where required We encourage parents/caregivers to do the same. Parents/caregivers should have high expectations but not feel pressured to become learning police, demanding sustained concentration until completion. A balance of learning activities, breaks, and physical activities is encouraged.

Parental/caregiver involvement tends to decrease once the reading is attained and becomes more independent. Paying more attention to the aspects of non-reading tasks becomes important and provides more opportunity for parental/caregiver involvement.

Finally, there are certain subjects, such as math, science, and history, which involve more complexity in teaching and learning strategies. These subjects may provide the most challenge for learning at home. It is critical for students (and parents/caregivers where appropriate) to engage frequently with, and take the lead from teachers in these subject areas to ensure opportunities for success.

The well being of our children and their families is of utmost importance during the period of school closure. We will continue to encourage all students to engage and participate in learning for the remainder of the closure. We also acknowledge that this looks different for every child and every family. We are here to provide support in any way, shape, and form that makes sense for your family.