FAQ'S Home Based Learning

Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question about home-based learning and your family’s wellbeing during COVID-19? You’ll find answers to the most frequently asked questions here. We’re adding new ones and updating this page regularly so check back again soon. 

Staying in touch with communications from your school is the best way to stay up to date. Please note that responses to many questions about home-based learning are general in nature as schools have already provided detailed information to their students and families.

Home-based learning

1.   I'm not a teacher. How can I teach my child at home?

Relax, parents are not expected to replicate classroom based, face to face teaching. Learning at home will look different in every home because every family is different. The aim is to ensure some continuity of learning in a way that works for your family. 

Use the learning activities your child’s teacher has provided as a guide. Aim to do a bit each day and try to keep up with the program your child’s teacher has set. If you can’t do it all, let your child’s teacher know. Your child is learning all the time, even if they miss out some of the set work. 

For more tips on managing home-based learning, read our guide here

2. What do I do if my child is finding it difficult to engage with home-based learning? 

Lots of children can find it difficult to be interested in doing school work at home. Try the ideas below  Your child’s teacher can assist if your child is experiencing difficulty.  

  • Identify a desk or learning space for your child
  • Create a daily and/or weekly learning schedule complete with breaks, time for exercising, fun and socialising
  • Set learning goals ensuring your child understands their tasks and has the necessary resources and tools
  • Check-in with your child regularly 
  • Monitor and negotiate the type of activities and time spent online 
  • Step back and catch your breath. Try a different activity altogether.
  • Encourage your child and build their engagement across several days.

Head to our page on home-based learning for more detailed tips. 

3. I’m working from home and have deadlines to meet. Will home-based learning be self-directed or supported by the teacher? Will I have to spend a lot of time directing my child’s learning?

Teachers will continue to guide, support and even direct your children in their learning as best they can online, but it won’t be done in the same way as in the classroom. 

Home-based learning looks different in every home. Teachers appreciate that every parent is doing their very best to support the learning and wellbeing of their child or children. 

Set up routines that work for your family, including times when you can check in on your child/ren’s learning and when they can ask you for help. Remember that schools have online communication options for students to ask questions and seek support from their teacher.  

4. How many hours a day is my child expected to do learning tasks?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this. Daily learning time differs from one family to another and depends on the ages and stages of your children. 

Many secondary schools are supporting student learning following a fairly normal school timetable. But there is no expectation around the number of hours a child is expected to be engaged in learning tasks. 

Flexibility is key. For example, you might find your child works best in the morning and so you allow them to do more play-based learning/help around the home in the afternoon. Do what suits your family best. 

5. What happens to students sitting for the HSC in 2020?

Principals and curriculum coordinators are carefully monitoring developments relating to the HSC and will continue to keep you and our Year 12 students well informed. 

Financial

6. What if we’re facing financial challenges?

For assistance with school fee-related enquiries please contact the Catholic Schools Office Fees Liaison Unit:
Phone: 98470728
Email: schoolfees@dbb.org.au

Wellbeing and pastoral care

7. How can I care for my child’s wellbeing if they are learning at home for an extended period of time? 

Being confined to home for a lengthy period is an opportunity to strengthen relationships with your children. One on one time will help them to feel loved, safe and secure.

The Australian Government Department of Health offers some practical psychological tips to help you and your loved ones cope with anxiety and worry about infectious diseases.

  • Get informed
  • Understand history
  • Get organised
  • Balance your thoughts
  • Shut down the noise
  • Remember who you are
  • Keep healthy routines
  • Stay engaged
  • Do the things that you enjoy
  • Keep looking forward

Have a look at the UNICEF Parenting Tips

Remember the power of personal and family prayer. Here are some video resources for spiritual comfort and support.

8. Who can parents speak to if we’re finding it difficult to cope?

Worry and feelings of unease are normal right now. Here are some ideas to help you: 

  • Learn the facts from authoritative sources
  • Reduce media exposure
  • Keep things in perspective. Ask yourself, “Am I getting ahead of myself? Am I overestimating how bad the consequences will be? Am I underestimating my ability to cope?” 
  • Practise self-care to encourage a positive mindset

Seek support if you feel that stress or anxiety is impacting your everyday life. Consult your GP or a psychologist or visit our services directory for additional specialist support.

For further support review the Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety from the Australian Psychological Society (APS)

Staying connected as parents is important during these challenging times.  Positive social connections are vital for our wellbeing and can help when coping with stress. During home isolation, we can still be social but need to explore new ways to stay connected. Take advantage of social media and videoconferencing apps to support each other, laugh together and share experiences to connect and have fun with each other. Schedule times during the day or evening to connect with one another and try to avoid excessive negative news and doomsday discussions.

9. Will my child have access to our school’s counselling service? How can we access it?

Yes, you will have access. Your school counselling service will operate during school term time and school hours, during the home-based learning period. 

The adapted service will offer a wellbeing case management approach involving wellbeing check-ins and consultations by phone or email. 

Your school counsellor has been (or will be) in contact with current counselling students to work out a new plan of support should the student (or parent) wish to proceed. 

New referrals will be assessed to determine if remote help or referral to a provider within the community is best. 

Primary: If you require support for your child then follow the normal school counsellor referral process by contacting the school principal, who will then consult with the school counsellor. Generally, phone support will be for parents and not the child. However, age and developmental factors will be considered and if support for a student is considered appropriate, parental consent will be required.

Secondary: If you require school counsellor ‘wellbeing check-in’ support, follow the school advice. Generally, the student and/or parent can make a scheduled appointment via email or through the designated school process. School websites will be providing updates. 

For serious mental health or wellbeing matters please visit our services directory here 

10. I still need to send my child to school. What measures are my school taking to reduce the risk of COVID-19 at school? 

Teachers are frequently teaching, reminding and ensuring students:

  • Wash their hands frequently with soap and water when entering school in the morning,  before and after eating, after using the bathroom and after playing outside
  • Cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching their faces
  • Limit physical contact when greeting people
  • Limit physical contact in the playground

All schools are being sent additional provisions of hand sanitiser. All schools continue to be regularly and professionally cleaned, focusing on touch surfaces. 

With fewer students at school, there is an even greater capacity to increase physical distancing measures and allow students more space to learn and work in.

11. What if there is a suspected case in a school?

The school will immediately contact the CSO and NSW Health. NSW Health has a process to investigate and trace how contact with the virus was made at the school. The school may need to close for a short period of time during the investigation and while it is appropriately cleaned. 

12. What will happen if there is a confirmed case in a school?

NSW Health will trace any close contacts of the infected person. This may require closing the school while the contact tracing process is done. NSW Health will advise students and staff when they can return to school or if they are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The school will then be cleaned. Your school will keep the school family community informed during this time.

Attendance 

Note: Responses to the below attendance questions are applicable for when staff are at school and students are at home. Advice for when staff and students are at home has not yet been determined. This advice is current as at 1 April 2020.

13. What if my child becomes sick and can’t engage in learning at home?

Please use the Compass app to advise your school that your child is sick.

14. If my child is learning at home will this affect their record of school attendance?

Children being kept at home and engaged in home learning will be recorded by the school as having a flexible timetable using the absence code (F). The (F) code will not negatively affect a student’s overall attendance rate.

All enrolled children, unless sick or on approved leave, are expected to participate in appropriate home-based learning, submitting work and showing completion of tasks.

If your child will not be attending school and/or will not be engaged in home learning, please contact your school. Parents are expected to provide a reason for their child’s absence, as required under the NSW Education Act 1990. The school will continue its usual practice in regard to absence codes to ensure that students’ whereabouts are known.

15. I can look after my children at home today, but I can't tomorrow because I have to work. Once I keep them home, do they have to stay at home?

Your children are welcome at school every day until otherwise notified.