• Gabi Warner

Top Study Tips for Kids Working from Home

COVID19 and WFH are the hot new abbreviations of 2020. The majority of Australians have transplanted their work from the office to the home dining table and the same can be said for our students. Our primary and high schools have worked tremendously hard to ensure lessons can be conducted online but the responsibility still lies with the student to finish their assignments. With so many distractions at home and the likelihood of slumping into procrastination forever looming, we've curated a list of our top study tips to keep yourself or your child on track. Remember, you're not just cementing good study habits for while you're at school, but also for your tertiary education and future jobs.

Study Tip #1 Carve Out Your Study Nook

You've seen it on our Instagram and you've probably heard it from your parents more times than you remember: Don't work on your bed! Don't do your assignments in front of the tv!

As much as we'd like to believe that we're just as productive while wrapped in a blanket and streaming our favourite shows, it's just never been the case. Instead, all you'll need to take the first step to getting that assignment done is finding a quiet space for yourself. It might be a desk in your room, a space in the office or a table tucked away from the central family hub. On your hunt for a study nook, opt for a space where you can permanently set up your laptop, books, highlighters and other belongings. You'll find that this really helps your brain identify this area as 'work'.

Our Study Nook DO'S

  • Invest in a calendar, weekly planner or wall schedule

  • Find a table large enough to spread your work onto

  • Bring all materials to your desk for the day to prevent adding extra breaks

Our Study Nook DONT'S

  • Bring your phone to the table

  • Work in your pyjamas

  • Try to avoid working with music - you won't be listening to it during an exam!

Study Tip #2 Design Your Own Schedule

Congratulations you're working from home! You're free from that rigid school timetable!

Well, that might be the dream but its not quite reality. Each school is operating a little differently with some prescribing online work to be completed and handed in on your own by a certain time while others are booking in live sessions over Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

However your learning may have been restructured, the next step of replicating your school environment and enhancing your new study nook is to build your schedule. You'll find that having a list of daily tasks to complete and check off is pretty fulfilling and gives you smaller goals to conquer as you reach your larger academic targets.

You might prefer to draw a timetable on paper, a whiteboard, into your school diary or on your computer. Your schedule should be personal to you so be sure to schedule subjects for when you are most likely to feel ready to tackle them. Locking in regular breaks (like morning tea and lunch) and completing your study around the same time as you usually would is another great tip for replicating your school's environment. There is a whole other blog's worth of information about creating schedules but to get you started we've listed a few quick steps.

Schedule Building 101

  1. Block in realistic times for when you wake up and go to sleep as well as meal times

  2. Schedule in daily exercise and other commitments you may have

  3. Keeping in mind your work deadlines and knowing which subjects you prefer to do in the morning or afternoon, start to assign realistic blocks of time to each task

  4. Colour code your schedule for each subject or activity

  5. Take a five minute break after every twenty minutes of work to refresh your brain

  6. If you do not finish a task within the allotted time, move on and return to it later

  7. Try to stick to your schedule! If you really need a break then take one but attempt to reach the end of each block of work

  8. On the other hand, if you fall behind don't panic - reset your schedule, set yourself achievable targets and you'll be back on track!

Study Tip #3 Get Physical

We've briefly touched on maintaining our physical fitness throughout this post but it seriously cannot be stressed enough so it deserves its own subheading. School team sport has been cancelled and its becoming increasingly difficult to exercise outside with endless updates of restrictions. It can be pretty easy to discard our exercise regimes entirely and surrender to the idea that we can't workout from home. We're putting that rumour to bed. You may have to get creative but most simple workouts can be performed with just your body weight. What's more, plenty of gyms including Flow Athletic in Paddington are now offering a diverse range of livestream classes. We all know a bit of exercise will get your endorphins flowing and your blood pumping, a perfect combination to spur you on through your busy day. We challenge you to find thirty minutes every day this week to test a few of our favourites out.

The Insight Bootcamp

  • Yoga: Channel your inner yogi and direct your thoughts for a clear head at the start of the day

  • Pilates: Yoga's upbeat cousin, slow and steady work that focuses on your form

  • Strength-based workouts: these are super effective using just your bodyweight but if you really want to step it up, have a hunt through mum's pantry and you might find a bag of sugar or flour or a can of tomatoes to add some extra weight

  • HIIT workouts: High Intensity Interval Training is perfect to get your heart rate up in a very short time frame

  • TAMATA: High repetitions of a low number of exercises to target specific areas

Study Tip #4 Get Off the Grid

Now you've built your ultimate study space and your home gym - what next? It may sound impossible, but try to put your phone aside. You wouldn't be using it in the middle of a lesson so don't bring it into your homeschool environment. Set yourself some rules while you make your schedule and aim to stick to them, for example only logging onto Facebook or Instagram when you take a break or finish a task. Leave it on your bed, put it in a drawer or even trust it with someone else for a while and you'll be able to work just as efficiently as you did pre-pandemic. If you want to take it a step further and really knuckle down on your homework, there is a fantastic range range of apps for your phone and laptop that can restrict your access for the period of time you set. They're able to block websites you nominate, block all Internet access or block all Internet access. In fact, some of them have great incentives to get you to drive down your screen time.

I used Forest on my phone during Year 11 and 12 which prevented you from unlocking your phone for as little as 15 minutes or as much as 3 hours. The longer the lock-out, the larger the tree you can grow in your forest on the app. If you crack under the pressure and check your phone, your forest will always be marked with a dead tree. You're able to connect with friends and compare all your trees and it was surprising how quickly the timer ran out.

Our Top Anti-Internet Apps

  1. Cold Turkey Blocker (macOS, Windows)

  2. Focus@Will (Android, iOS, Web)

  3. Freedom (Chrome, iOS, macOS, Windows)

  4. Mindful Browsing (Chrome)

  5. RescueTime (Android, iOS, macOS, Web, Windows)

Step #5 Mix Up Your Study Techniques

Just like when your pen runs out ink, our brains can run out of juice. Sure, we can take a break, grab a snack and come back to the same office desk but often that just isn't quite enough. Classrooms are a dynamic space, you're often working on different activities across different subjects with different people. Variety really is the spice of life so don't let your study habits get too stagnant. This is an important tip to take away not just while we're working from home but also while whenever we study outside of school.

Sure we've all got our old reliable techniques like highlighting our notes or consolidating our dot points but there are so many more study methods out there in the academic universe. Mix it up a little to keep yourself engaged while you're learning and you'll realise that not only does the time pass more quickly but you can actually enjoy studying! You may be an auditory, visual or kinaesthetic learner but that doesn't restrict you to only following study techniques from their seperate lists. What's more, many of these options can be done in conjunction with your friends if you are a social butterfly. Check out our list and let us know what works for you!

Visual Learners

You process information more efficiently if you can see it rather than hear it

  • Highlighting

  • Mindmapping

  • Drawing diagrams

Auditory Learners

You process information more efficiently if you hear or speak it rather than see it

  • Record information and play it back to yourself

  • Explain your key concepts to a friend

  • Make up a song to recall sequences

Kinaesthetic Learners

You process information most efficiently if you have a hands on experience

  • Construct 3D models of diagrams, locations and molecules

  • Create a dance to replicate important processes

  • Exercise while listening to your English quotes

These top five tips are by no means a definitive list of how you may like to study at home. Get in touch with us to let us know how you prefer to work - what's a success and what isn't? During these uncertain times its important to remember to put your health first and if you are experiencing difficulties we recommend that you contact your school as well as your tutor. On a parting note, we've added in a few extra activities and hobbies you might like to try in between your Maths and English homework.

Our Isolation Bucket List

  1. Learn a new language on Duolingo

  2. Cook or bake three new recipes

  3. Paint, build, draw or sculpt something connected to your studies

  4. Make a board game about the new book you just read

  5. Take a virtual tour of the world's greatest locations on Google Earth or tune into livestreams at Melbourne Zoo

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