Understanding the parent turned teacher

People around the world continue with life under lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, and as a result, parents have found themselves grappling with the ‘office at home’, and, taking on a new role as teachers, among other things. 

Guaranteed, there is remote help from real teachers, however, many parents have admitted to finding the stay-at-home teaching model much harder than they anticipated.

 

Many have shared their home-schooling fails on social media; some epic, some sad, and some just downright hilarious. 

 

A good number of parents started home-schooling off on a confident note, before quickly realising that taking on the responsibility of determining what is to be learned and how it is to be taught is no walk in the park. 

 

It is important to create an area in the house for your children to be able to focus on learning. Net photos

Needless to say, these new circumstances have been a source of countless lessons for many families.

The struggle was enough to prompt one father to tweet about replacing school with anger management.

Another doctor-dad, and new home-school teacher also joked in a tweet that ‘treating coronavirus is easier than home schooling in quarantine’.

“I did some home-schooling today for multiple children and here is a list of things I’ve done that are easier than home schooling: Being shot at whilst trying to treat combat casualties, being a doctor during a killer virus pandemic. Seriously how do people do this?” He tweeted.

The most important thing to consider, according to Milly Atuhairwe, a mother home-schooling her kids, is for parents not to judge themselves.

“We need to do our best but also understand that we are not professional teachers, such that when things don’t go as planned, we do not beat ourselves up for that. The situation is already too hard, not only for us, but for the kids as well,” she says.

Programmes and creativity

Kenneth Kamugisha is only a few weeks into home-schooling his kids and he is suggesting an increase for teachers’ salaries.

He says nothing is as challenging as making a five-year-old understand a concept. 

Kids should have time to play for relaxation. 

“I never thought of how hard it was to deal with children on such a daily basis, teachers really do a great job dealing with our kids.”

For him to cope with his new schedule, he drafted a daily agenda of the different subjects they cover, and also ensured to include fun activities to beat boredom.

“When my kids start complaining that they are tired, I don’t force them to continue studying. Instead we opt to do something fun, we either play games or make art. I let them decide,” Kamugisha says.

When it comes to home-schooling, every moment is a chance for a lesson for Winnie Umuhoza.

As a mother of three young boys, parenting and teaching her sons has made quarantine a very trying time.

“If there’s one thing I can attest to right now is that full time parenting is really hard. The whining, crying, screaming, kicking and hitting each other is all so exhausting,” she says.

But she continues to look on the bright side of things, saying that quarantine has given her enough time to learn more about her children.

“When no one is throwing a tantrum or causing a fight, we get time to bond and create memories together. It is not easy but at the end of the day, we are happy to be spending time as a family.”

Tips on home-schooling

There are no hard and fast rules on how to teach your child from home. However, a parent can make the best out of home-schooling with a few guidelines:

Create a learning space

It is important to create an area in the house for your children to be able to focus on learning. However, you need to limit distractions by ensuring that the TV is off as well as silencing other gadgets such as phones. 

Form a structure

Even though the kids are now studying from home, they shouldn’t use this as an excuse not to take studying seriously. For example, Umuhoza tries to use the same time frame used by schools for studying — this includes morning sessions, break time, an afternoon session as well as a lunch break.

She, however, ensures to be flexible depending on how her children are progressing.

Don’t be too commanding 

Kamugisha says it is important to be strict, but again, flexible enough for the kids when teaching them.

Giving them space to do exercises on their own is key in helping them learn. If your child is finding a particular task difficult, be available to make suggestions and answer questions, but try to let them do things themselves as much as possible.

Quiet time

It doesn’t matter how old your kids are, everyone needs some quiet time. This could mean taking a nap, watching TV or reading their favourite books. This is good because it gives time for parents to get their other chores done without interruption. 

Have fun

Quarantine is the perfect time to bond with your children. You can take breaks from studying and play games, bake together among other things. This will help you and the kids not to get bored with the study routine.

dmbabazi@newtimesrwanda.com

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