Home Schooling and Covid-19… a possibility?
It happened almost overnight and the world as we know it changed. The emergence of COVID-19 impacted more than just the different economies around the world… it impacted DAILY LIFE to the extent that a “new normal” emerged. A new normal that nobody was prepared for which resulted in people literally trying to just survive… be it financially, psychologically or socially.
One of the biggest impacts that COVID-19 has had is that of the lives of our children. THEIR “new normal” is UNRECOGNISABLE. Whilst they are getting more parent and sibling time than ever before, their friends and teachers have become participants on a screen – there but not quite there. They no longer receive the mental and psychological benefit that such relationships bring. They are no longer mentally, socially and physically stimulated as they were. Our children have become little beings that roam the house on a daily basis not quite knowing what to do with themselves as the novelty of “no school” has worn off. Right now, our children are trying to process their “new normal” and most of them are NOT happy about it and are VERY ANXIOUS!
So what do we as their parents and guardians do? How do we help them? How do we make their “new normal” something that is still acceptable as being their actual childhood? After all, we can’t get these years back for them and we don’t know how long this will last!
I have spent many, many sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do with my children in terms of their education. I have one in foundation phase, one in primary school and one in high school. Three very different age groups, each with their own challenges. Each with their own distinct needs and dilemmas. Figuring out what to do has been a true challenge but after hours and hours of research, done whilst the 3 little minions are sleeping, it has yielded some positive results! At last, something that seems to be a solution!
Basic background… my children were all in attendance at a private school and the school’s solution to a “new normal” was to overnight become an online school, without really having the proper equipment, knowledge, foundation and experience to execute proper online education.
Teachers sat in front of a screen, with “the class” on the other side of a screen and no one really knew what was going on (especially for the little ones). Some sessions were prerecorded, others were live. Some sessions were acceptable, others were a total mess. Work was emailed and I was expected to assist the children accordingly. My kids asked questions and I had no clue what the answers were (especially Grade 10 physics and chemistry). I had to split my time between 3 children, of completely different age groups and educational requirements, and help them with their “new normal” in terms of education. What a disaster! Simply put. Plus let’s not forget that I have a full time day job also… and a house to keep clean and meals to prepare. Oh, did I mention on top of everything I am a single mom? Wow. My “new normal” has been interesting!
So my solution? Simple. Take the children out of a private school, because let’s face it, the things we pay for in terms of private school are a thing of the past with THIS “new normal”. Then, enroll them into a PROPER online school which has years of experience as an online school and which still gives the “private school” IEB Curriculum – at a FRACTION of the cost – which still leaves room to afford someone who can be with them and work with them!
Hello www.brainline.com (Grade R to Matric) – a REAL IEB solution to the “new normal” that my children now live. There are others too for the CAPS Curriculum… www.teneoschool.co.za These online schools come with good recommendations, solid experience and let me tell you, with Brainline, MANY diplomatic families, expat families, celebrity children, children who are sports stars etc. use it.
Ok great, so I enrolled them all BUT that didn’t help the fact that I still have a day job and my house still needs to be attended to and meals still need to be cooked (I feel like I am forever cooking these days?).
Apologies I digress. So I went the route of official homeschooling. I registered the children with the Department of Education (who are now SO accepting of homeschooling applications and registrations) and I bought all the books according to what was prescribed. That was also fairly easy – they supplied the names of the suppliers, I purchased them (online) and they were delivered to my home.
However, did that solve the fact that I have no clue how to assist with chemistry? No. Did that solve that my Grade 1 still had to have someone sitting next to him to assist him with his online school? No. Did that mean that I could work during the day uninterrupted by little minions? No.
Children still need SUPERVISION. Children still need ATTENTION. Children still need AN ADULT. Children still need a TEACHER – because whilst I am many things, a teacher is NOT one of them! God bless ALL the teachers on this planet!
So, I decided to get a Home School Teacher. Someone who knows how to teach children, how to look after their emotional, psychological, physical and social well-being whilst I am working (remember single parent household). Someone who can handle children on good days, bad days and on the most strange of days brought on by their “new normal”.
So that is exactly what I have now. 3 children, LIVING the new normal – not surviving it in crisis mode but actually ENJOYING life again. The stress has disappeared. The anxiety has gone. Yes, they miss the social interaction with their friends, but now they have ZOOM play dates and gatherings. They don’t worry about getting sick and dying (my little one was beside himself over that). They don’t have to wear uncomfortable masks for 6 hours whilst learning. They can focus. They have one-on-one individual assistance. They still do projects. They still do assignments. They still do tests. They still get reports. They still interact with peers who are doing online school, but they feel SAFE. They feel IN CONTROL. They feel CERTAIN about their education and that it won’t wax and wane according to COVID-19 lockdown levels etc. They feel like THIS new normal is something they can live with for a very long time.
Perhaps this isn’t for everyone… but it certainly is for my little minions. If this article has helped you decide what to do, then I know that I have helped someone sleep at night. Yes, it is daunting. Yes, it comes with a few bumps however compared to what the rest of the traditional education system is going through… my children are HAPPY AND ANXIETY FREE!
I feel that I have done the right thing as a parent. I looked at the “new normal” and I decided that I need to change with the times so that my children could adapt and grow and still have a solid education with a good chance at future prospects like university.