Every parent is familiar with the typical back to school routine. Buying stationary, trying on new school uniforms and realising last minute that school shoes no longer fit as the more relaxed summer days fade away. But for students who study via Distance Education (DE), their back to school routine is far from that of the traditional schooling student.
One family in particular gets to experience ‘back to school’ from both perspectives. With one child studying via DE and another studying at a traditional school, the Giovanazzi’s provide great insight into how they meet the needs of all of their children as they prepare to go back to school, regardless of that school’s location.
“We have been lucky enough to find schooling that fits the needs and learning styles for all of our children, even if they are different,” comments Belinda Giovanazzi, mother of four diversely educated children, as she says.
Preparing for each child to return to school sees its own challenges. For Belinda’s DE student she knows almost all of their work is completed online, meaning that a strong internet connection and good laptop with current software are essential tools for that child’s success. For her traditional school children, Belinda knows the beginning of the year will see a rush to buy stationary, books, uniforms, and school shoes.
The Giovanazzi family chose different paths to meet the different needs of their children, even if it’s not always the most convenient option. Belinda’s daughter, Eva, has seen a significant academic improvement since switching to Distance Education, with Belinda commenting “she’s now able to take the time she really needs to study independently and at her own pace.”
Of her traditional school son, Aaron, Belinda said “We also like traditional schooling for Aaron, who thrives having in-person support from teachers and peers, along with the social development that suits him.”
The school days for Belinda’s children are uniquely different. Although they all eat breakfast together, one leaves and one stays home to start their school days.
Eva who has just started year 8 is given a lot of responsibility when it comes to her Distance Education environment. She is solely responsible for how much work and what subjects to tackle in a given day, with an added bonus of getting to make her own lunch in the kitchen when lunchtime rolls around.
Aaron on the other hand has started year 10 in the traditional schooling environment where he is thriving. He doesn’t have reminders of due dates evident for his parents to see like Eva does via the DE portal; he takes on that responsibility himself and must keep accountable of his deadlines.
After school, the teens often collaborate on homework, assisting one another in their respective strength areas.
“We understand that this strategy of schooling definitely isn’t the norm, but we are lucky enough to find something that works for both kids and see two different education styles and their benefits for our children,” says Belinda.
Eva attends the Australian Christian College Distance Education program through ACC Southlands while Aaron attends the Australian Christian College Southlands campus.
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