By Elmien Ackerman, a self-proclaimed “wordaholic” who loves words and language and cringes at the thought of a missing apostrophe. She writes for Impaq Education, a curriculum provider for home and tutor education.

Many learners who normally attend traditional schools have to temporarily school at home due to the national lockdown. While some are finding it easy to adjust, others are struggling. Impaq wanted to help, so they asked the experts: their learners and parents who successfully school at home all year round.

How to school at home successfully

These creative tips and tricks are sure to get you ahead of the game:

Get rid of distractions

Advice: Impaq learner, Magnus Greyling, says “Switch your phone off or put it on silent”. Cheron Hercules also advises learners not to be distracted by their cellphone while Lucky Manonga urges learners to “create the perfect studying environment free from distractions”.

How to achieve this: Remove cellphones and computers from your study space or go offline. While they form part of our learning journey, especially when attending online classes or downloading the study plan for the week, it is best to remove them from your study space when you are trying to focus. If you are working on your laptop, consider going offline while you study. That way you will not be distracted by any notifications.

Study in a quiet place

Advice:Study in a quiet place,” Cheron advises. Mathemba Sibiyah agrees with Cheron and says: “Have a designated study area that is quiet with no noise”.

How to achieve this: Study in silence. Music with lyrics, podcasts or other audio decreases your potential for learning and can be distracting. Rather study in silence to give yourself the best chance of mastering the material.

Related: Matrics 2019: Impaq’s top ten shares their advice

Get enough sleep

Advice:Get a good night’s sleep,” both Cheron and Tsholofelo Sambo advises while Đøw Nkøönah and Mathemba say to make sure you sleep eight hours a night.

How to achieve this: Fit in sleep in your schedule. If you do not get enough sleep you will not only struggle to absorb and learn new information, but you will also find it difficult to remember what you have learned before going to bed. Studies have shown that the process of memory consolidation continues while we sleep. So, making sure you get a good night’s sleep will help you remember what you have learned and ultimately improve your school performance.

Look after yourself

Advice:Eat proper meals that will boost your mental ability,” Mathemba advises.“Drink lots of water to stay hydrated,” he adds. “Do exercises and look after yourself,” Cheron says.

How to achieve this: Getting enough sleep is only one part of looking after yourself. There are a few other things you should do such as:

  • Eat healthily. Eat brain-boosting meals and snacks to boost concentration and aid learning.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle on your desk in your study space where you can see it or download a drinking water reminder app.
  • Exercise is not only important for your physical health but also your mental health. Walk around the block (as per the lockdown regulations) or find a fitness video on YouTube; they have videos of almost every exercise available for free.

Plan ahead 

Advice: It is important to plan ahead. Lucky explains: “Each week create a schedule that sets out specific and realistic study times”. While Lucky plans for the week ahead, Kerry Seagreen has a different approach. “I plan the night before for the next day’s lessons,” she says. Kerry makes use of the Impaq calendar to see what is expected for that specific week.

How to achieve this: Create a plan and keep it visible. Creating a study plan or timetable is only half of it. “Stick to the timetable, set goals and achieve them,” Magnus adds. Đøw also advises learners to stick the timetable behind their door or above their desk. Keeping the timetable in a place where you can easily see it is sure to help you manage your time and achieve your goals.

Avoid study overload

Advice:When setting your study schedule, ensure you set yourself a realistic target of what you want to achieve in each session,” Lucky advises. “Study one topic at a time, don’t mix the topics,” Đøw adds. Magnus says that it can create a lot of stress when you try to focus on all your subjects at once. “Do one thing at a time,” he advises.

How to achieve this: Both Cheron and Mathemba advise to

  • use a timer when studying as this will help you take regular breaks and
  • include time to relax in your study schedule. That way you will have something to look forward to.

Don’t panic

Advice: Melanie Rampersadh advises parents not to panic. “Children feed on your vibe,” she explains. Focus on making learning fun and sharing memorable moments with your children.

How to achieve this: Melanie reminds parents to work according to their child’s pace. Some days might not go as planned and that is okay. Your child might feel motivated the one day and not so motivated the next. “Refrain from negative thoughts if you’re not feeling motivated anymore,” Cheron adds. Take it one day at a time and focus on what you can achieve.

Share your tips on how to school at home and WIN

If you have any tips or tricks to share on how to school at home, comment on Impaq’s Facebook post and you could win R1000! Ts and Cs apply. Winners will be announced after the lockdown has ended.

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