The low bar for students’ home learning
CHILDREN will only be expected to learn for two or three hours a day, as the Queensland Government admits it will be tough for some parents to juggle full-time work and teaching.
Families are this week struggling to understand new arrangements for term two, as authorities scramble to pull together back-up plans in case parents ignore directives to keep kids at home and crowds of students turn up to school next week.
It came as the Opposition called for mums and dads to be able to decide for themselves whether they kept children home, amid concerns of a "two-tier education system" in which some would be left behind.
Education Minister Grace Grace told The Courier-Mail she understood parents would be juggling their own work, but all children that had at least one parent at home should be kept home.
She said parents needn't worry about sudden expectations, with teachers still running the lessons and available to answer any questions.
"For parents supervising their children, two to three hours of learning each day will usually be plenty, with a range of additional activities that may be provided to keep children engaged," Ms Grace said.
"There are no set hours for supervised learning time - this could occur early in the morning, or across your work lunch break - and older children may be able to manage their own learning time."
But Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said opening schools for some children but not others ran the risk of creating a two-tier education system that would leave some kids behind.
"I'm especially worried about children being left in homes where they may not receive any home schooling at all for the next five weeks," she said.
"And let's remember that many families don't have access to laptops, printers, digital devices or sufficient internet connections.
"If parents can teach their children at home and are able to do so, they can choose to.
"But parents who want to send their kids to school should have that choice."
Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said authorities would be monitoring Victoria's return to school today to see how many students attended.
"That will give us some clue as to where we sit with this," he said.
"If 50 to 100 students rock up to a school and we can't accommodate them, that's something we need to have plans for."
Conceding term two would be a challenge, Mr Bates said it would see a reduced curriculum delivered.
English, maths, science, humanities and social sciences and digital technologies have been identified as the five key areas to study within those two or so hours of instruction each day, with other lessons like PE, potentially delivered over video.
"There will still have to be some parent involvement at home, it's not possible for teachers to be in contact with students five hours of the day," Mr Bates said.
He said students would log into The Learning Place to communicate with their teachers through group message and limited two-way communication.
P&Cs Queensland chief executive Kevan Goodworth said home schooling presented obvious issues, but people should do the best they could and not get too stressed.
"It's not about sitting at a desk between 9 and 3," he said.
"It's about a new way of doing things.
"It's not going to be perfect.
"The notion that we're all in this together might sound trite but it's true."
The Government will review term two arrangements on May 15 and decide any changes by May 22.
Originally published as The low bar for students' home learning