Homeschooling? Here’s how to do it

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By Joan Salmon (Daily Monitor)

It is a plague, or should I say a disaster, that has seen several service points close, schools inclusive. Rather than leave our children to play through this quarantine period, many parents have turned to homeschooling them seeing that they also cannot leave for work.

However, we need to do things right if we are to get the best out of it. Some parents and a teacher share how best to homeschool:

7 years ago, Julian Ogwal voluntary decided to home school her 4 children. She shares about her experience juggling motherhood and teaching; and how COVID has affected her children’s learning.

Lucy Rusoke, a mother of two takes her children to Happy Hearts International Academy and is thankful for the efforts by the school administration to avail online classes during the period.

“Each class has a time allocated for their study. This gives them some sense of normalcy and routine that they will follow while at home.” Rusoke adds that children need some form of structure to help them know how to go about their day. “It helps to know how the day will flow. That way, even when an adult is doing something else, they can move on or the older children can guide the little ones.”
Nonetheless, Francis Okwenda, a homeschool teacher, advises against being rigid.

“Flexibility is very important in homeschooling, more so for children who are new to the concept. Therefore, if they would like to explore nature today, plant a vegetable patch tomorrow, do not be too bent on following the timetable. All that matters is that in whatever they do, there is a lesson learned.”

In as much as your life seems to have seemingly turned upside down, it is no reason to mop, be in a terrible mood or shout at the children. Melinda Mukasa, a mother of four advises fellow parents to be calm as children easily follow your leading.

“That is enough to see you through any tantrum, as many will come but will also set a trend that your children will definitely follow. Otherwise, the whole house will be moody and obviously, no profitable work will be done.”

Conducive environment
It is very true that all children are different. Therefore, while one might do well with a desk and bench, another may prefer to sit on a cushion and do their work.

All that matters is that they are learning. Enid Tendo, a homeschooling parent, advises other parents to ensure that all manner of distraction is put away when the children are learning. “Switch off the television, put the toys away so that you can make the most of this time.”

Interest your children
Many children will be bored by the homeschooling idea as they expected to come back and play. However, Okwenda says you can always get a child interested in learning by appealing to their interests.

“You may use videos to teach a child about multiplication and achieve more than you would have if you had insisted on going through the tables one at a time. All it takes is knowing the child’s passion or using the environment, say for Science.”
Teach about life
Homeschooling is not just about academics but a whole lot of things that may never be taught in a classroom. With parents at home too, Tendo urges them to teach their children about life skills. “Teach them how to cook a simple meal, clean the compound, do laundry, sew, and the like. Such activities help them appreciate life better, become more helpful around the house while also breaking the ice in-between lessons.”
Remember, you are home
In asmuch as you are doing all sorts of learning, it is crucial to remember you are home, not school. Loosen up, even when teaching them.

“For starters, you are not a trained teacher but only filling the void the teacher left. So, take it one step at a time as you allow yourself and the children to ease into the routine.
You could introduce a thing or two and see how they absorb it. Besides, this should be the time you better understand your children’s learning process.”
Have time for yourself
While helping your children stay abreast with their school work is important, you must not forget about yourself. Lauren Kijambu, a mother of three, says with scheduling, it is possible to rest even as the children continue with their work.

“Give them assignments or tasks that they can do by themselves. That way, you can do your office work, if any or do other activities around the house. You could also take a nap for the much needed rest.”

When all is said and done, homeschooling may not be as bad as spending all day bent over a book. With careful planning, there will be several lessons learned and a lasting impact created.

Picture of Rogers Mukalele

Rogers Mukalele

An information technologies specialist with great experience and skills in teaching ICT and website development. Passionate about educational technologies (ICT4E), digital pedagogy advocacy and building communities around technology.

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