If you have been promoted to homeschool-parent and you feel a bit like you have been thrown out of an aeroplane without a parachute, here are seven helpful tips to navigate these trying times:
Stop comparing yourself to other parents: You cannot fail! You can only do the best that you can considering the circumstances in which you find yourself.
Set the tone of positive learning in your home: The conversations that you have with your children will determine their co-operation or not. Your children have an unusual opportunity in their school year; an opportunity to catch up and review work that has already been covered this year – isn’t that amazing? The school year is usually so pressured that there is little time for learners to make sure that they have completed and mastered all the skills that have been taught. Speak to this.
Work on a timetable with your children: Once you know what they need to cover, decide on a realistic schedule and stick to it. Having routines and structure will make the homeschooling experience less overwhelming. Motivate and praise any progress.
Work as a team: Parents and teachers need to join forces if we are going to make this work. Parents cannot be expected to teach new knowledge to their children. This is unrealistic. However, parents can assist their children in working through prior/root knowledge. Why not gather together on a social media platform and arrange for prior/root knowledge activities to be emailed (or using other online services if these are available) to parents. Memos will need to be available to assist parents and learners in knowing if they are on the right track.
Find your child’s creative side: There are literally thousands of creative ideas on the internet: arts and crafts, music, dance and games. Use the internet as a tool to spark ideas; connect with your children through creative play and tasks. Being forced to stay at home is a wonderful opportunity for children to discover their creative and imaginative abilities.
Senior learners: You can quite easily form study groups with assistance from your teachers, online. Work together to schedule times where you can focus on the important aspects of your learning – knowing that this is not a time to set aside your studies. This is an opportunity to catch up and move forward. Grab it with both hands. You are responsible for your own learning, after all.
School holidays are coming up: Allow your children to have the holiday – that they need as well.
We do not know how long Covid-19 will be around. As parents, it is our responsibility to adhere to the measures our president has put in place – not only for the safety of our children and loved ones, but for all South Africans.
Use this time wisely to spend time together as a family and reconnect. We are all in this together and we will make it through together.