Monday | 25 May | 2020
By Lea Brink
At this stage of the pandemic it is still uncertain precisely what kind of instruction will be adopted in schools. This places pressure on parents to initially adhere to certain resources to educate their children at home.
All parents will therefore be home-school parents for the time being, but this does not come without its challenges. Not all parents are used to it and although some parents have already started home-schooling, most of us do so with limited knowledge of the necessary methods. Many parents also have to teach children of varying ages.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) reports that the British psychotherapist Philippa Perry encourages people to allow their children to first teach their parents.
The purpose of this is to create a new learning environment. If your children see you as the parent-teacher who sits and listens to what they have to say, they are more inclined to cooperate. It also helps for them to see the kitchen or lounge as the new classroom and Perry furthermore states that when someone teaches someone else, they themselves are also learning something.
To create a learning area is just as important. David Roy of the University of Newcastle says there is no right or wrong way to create it and what works for one child, will not necessarily suit another. “Feel free to allow your children to learn in different areas, whether it is lying on the floor or sitting at a table – whatever works the best for them. Try to prevent distractions. Switch of the TV and apps.”
This has to be accompanied by creating structure. Roy warns that you have to make sure your children do not view this period as an extended holiday, but as normal schooling from home. Your children’s age will determine how much they need to learn, but he does recommend keeping to the school’s time framework and allowing flexibility, depending on how your children progress.
Also make the best of what is available. The British broadcaster BBC has expanded its teaching platform Bitesize to provide daily lessons in English, Maths, Geography and other core subjects.
On a more informal basis, there are also numerous choices and this is where technology comes in handy to take in the best international treasures virtually. Google Arts & Culture has concluded a partnership with 1200 prominent museums and archives to present exhibitions and tours online. Currently the Louvre Museum is closed, but children can still see their exhibitions on their website, as well as the Vatican Museum in Rome and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
With regard to reading, Storeyline Online is a website filled with fun where professional actors read picture books. Afrikaans story websites with text and podcasts include Tuisskool in Afrikaans and Kraakvars.com.
Finally, be there to help but don’t be in your children’s way. Roy says you need not know all the answers; work together with your child to find a solution, but let them self-regulate by taking control of their learning process and not just rely on you.
David Roy, https://www.parent24.com/Learn/Learning-difficulties/trying-to-homeschool-because-of-coronavirus-here-are-5-tips-to-help-your-child-learn-20200331-2.
North Coast Courier, https://northcoastcourier.co.za/151685/parents-can-become-pro-teachers-covid-19/.
WE Forum, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/homeschooling-tips-coronavirus-lockdown/
* All information was correct at the time of publication.