Study from home a tough assignment for many kids

Students face more pressure and distractions when doing all their school work from home.

New learning formats and the lack of socialisation with friends has resulted in worsening mental health after the closure of schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to students interviewed by Newbytes.

The coronavirus has killed more than 400,000 people throughout the world this year and has infected more than 7 million since its spread from Wuhan in China. In Australia there have been 102 deaths and more than 7200 cases.

Schools throughout Australia and most of the world have been closed during the global crisis, with students learning from home.

Not having a teacher in the room to give advice has immensely impacted their learning, students say.

Year 11 student Katherine Norton said her “productivity has been very negatively affected by the experience” and it has caused her to “lose motivation some days”.

“I found it was a lot harder to actually concentrate at home than when I was in normal class…there were a lot of other distractions, such as pets at home running around,” she said. “It made things more difficult to concentrate.”

“I don’t see a point to try when we don’t know if anything is going to matter by the time this pandemic has passed.”

The 10 students interviewed said that being unable to socialise with school friends had resulted in worsening mental health, with a lack of motivation to do anything and higher anxiety levels.

Help for home-bound students during coronavirus isolation includes special ABC TV programs.

On the other hand one Year 11 student in Sydney said he believed it made him “realise how much more productive I can be … I can definitely see how that’s been beneficial in the marks I have been getting.”

“You are able to work in a comfortable workspace with all the resources in the world by your side … you can take your time in learning,” he said.

“But the downside is that it’s hard for a teacher to explain something online without being there one-on-one … you also can’t socialise with your friends as easily.”

The New South Wales Department of Education has set up a site dedicated to COVID-19 that has released resources to aid students as they work from home and out of their normal environment.

The site provides homework tips and learning packages for parents and carers, along with information on the phased return to schools. The packs contain teaching activities with self-guided videos to complement learning programs provided by schools.

All the students interviewed reported worrying about the state of the world, but said that some aspects of family relationships had improved in lockdown.

“We have more time to talk and spend time together while enjoying each other’s company,” Katherine said.

“Other aspects have gotten harder … we don’t have time to ourselves anymore”.

Year 11 student Colleen O’Carroll said she was looking forward to normal life resuming.

“I am looking forward to just not going stir-crazy at home as it means I can go out more and enjoy the outside world again,” she said.

As restrictions ease, the education system has begun phased returns to school.

Photos: NSW Education Department

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