Learning from home is all about the positives

Lidcombe Public P&C President, and father of eight children, Bill Soliola, shares his tips on managing learning from home: it’s all about the vibe.

Image: Best foot forward: The Soliola family on their morning boot camp.

When lockdown started, Bill Soliola and his children, Monalisa, 17 (Year 11), Elizabeth, 13 (Year 8), Tai, 11 (Year 6), Tania, 10 (Year 5), Sefo, 8 (Year 3), Silivia, 7 (Year 2), Eirenei, 5 (Kindergarten) and Lidcombe, 4 (preschool), were sharing two phones and a laptop, and trying to juggle a variety of online lessons.

“I contacted the school to see if they had a spare and they gave us three laptops and an iPad to borrow which has made a huge difference to their learning,” he said.

“I can’t thank Acting Principal Nicole Monk enough, she has been wonderful as have all of the children’s teachers who are in regular contact with them and give them portions of work throughout the day, right up until 3pm.”

Help came from the local community as well, and now all the children have their own computers to use.

Bills’ role as President of the P&C allows him to return the help, and share positive vibes.

He uses Facebook to show what he and his children are doing, and this in turn has been shared widely, with local principals in other schools sharing them with their communities.

The family starts each school day in the local park, going through the school exercises on Facebook, and then returning home for lessons.

“The physical activity keeps them energised. We treat it a bit like a school excursion, so the smaller ones feel like they’re still at school,” he said.

Back home, the eight children study online in the same space, peeling off for zoom lessons when some privacy is needed.

Studying together means that they can collectively solve problems, giving the older students the chance to mentor their younger siblings.

It’s also brought the family closer together.

“We only used to spend time together in school holidays, but now we’re together everyday, and we’re learning new things about each other,” he said.

It’s this sort of positive approach that Bill shares with the P&C, and wider, through social media.

“It was tough at the beginning, not being able to do things in person or go on the school grounds.

“As a committee, we speak together weekly, and I use social media to show the things we get up to at home,” he said.

Bill believes that communication is the key, as well as staying connected to the school community.

He is also a big believer in asking for help, particularly if you’re struggling to find the positives.

The way Bill sees it, helping others is a blessing – but in order to receive that blessing, you need to be able to help someone.

“When you ask for help, and someone can help you out, you’re letting them feel good about themselves by helping you out. That’s a real positive. By asking for help, you’re giving someone the opportunity to feel great.

“Don’t forget, we really are in this together,” Bill said.

Bills’ hints for finding a positive vibe:

  • Seek positive information that can be accessed through your school

  • Call your school and ask what you can do for the community.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask to help

Or you can find Bill’s own take on positivity and learning from home on his Facebook page.

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