Nelson siblings Kaitlyn (17), Hannah (15), Emily (13), Vincent (12), Liam (9) and Nicola Rodley (8) have embraced learning from home during lockdown. Photo: Supplied.

Lockdown learning: Six Nelson siblings tackle school from home


Welcome to the Rodley family lockdown school.

Six children, two parents (one working from home) and all is going smoothly so far.

In the dining room, you’ll find eight-year-old Nicola with Liam, 9, and Vincent, 12, writing or doing algebra.

In the lounge, 17-year-old Kaitlyn along with Hannah, 15, and Emily, 13, are working on assignments.

“I try to keep them to a normal school day routine,” says stay-at-home mum, Ruth.

“The children know when they have online video or chat calls and will usually get all their work done in the morning. We are lucky enough to have three computers for the younger children to use and the older ones at college each have a laptop.”

They stop for morning tea and lunch breaks, just like at school, and Ruth makes sure they go outside for playtime “just to get some fun into the day.”

Ruth praises the work put in by her children’s schools – Nayland College, Broadgreen Intermediate and Tahunanui School.

“They’ve been amazing, setting up all the work for them to do online.”

Ruth says she is always nearby to help in case she’s needed but finds her older children will usually step in to help the younger ones.

“They really look out for each other.”

She says her younger children don’t mind being online, but her eldest would rather be at school.

“She is year 13 and has been the busiest with lots of assignments due.”

Ruth says she’s lucky to be in a position where she can be at home with her children.

“My hat goes off to all the parents who are having to work as well, you are all amazing.”

Her main advice is “don’t stress” and focus on other things if you or your children are finding it hard to focus on the online work.

“Get them to do some fun activities at home,” she says.

“Learning isn’t just about what you do online. They can still write a story, draw a picture or explore the garden. It’s not worth stressing yourself or them out. All we can do is our best.”

If New Zealand is to move to alert level 3 this week, schools will be physically open for up to year 10.

Under level 3, the Ministry of Education says parents and caregivers should, where they can, keep their children at home – but parents who need to send their children to school can do so. Education for students in years 11-13 will continue remotely.