Home school your children

On Monday, we woke up to news of yet another attack on a school in northern Nigeria. At least 48 people, mostly students, were killed and 79 injured when a suicide bomber, dressed in school uniform, blew himself up among students at a science-technical college.

On Monday, we woke up to news of yet another attack on a school in northern Nigeria. At least 48 people, mostly students, were killed and 79 injured when a suicide bomber, dressed in school uniform, blew himself up among students at a science-technical college.

On Wednesday, another attack happened at a teacher training college in Kontagora, also in northern Nigeria.

This time, the suicide bomber was female. The bomb exploded as she was about to enter a hall packed with students. At least four were killed.

Boko Haram militants are thought to be behind the mayhem.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the repeated attacks on schools, given that Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” and in their bid to establish an Islamic caliphate, the militants have vowed to get rid of any form of western civilisation. No one knows when or where they will strike next; but if I were a parent in Nigeria, I would consider homeschooling.

A school environment is crucial, and we all learnt many things while there, but life is more precious. In this Internet era, study guides and lesson plans are available online. Text books and other reading materials can be bought off the street; and as a parent, you can make time to help your child learn.

In case you can’t, because you are either busy or think you aren’t a good teacher, ask a relative or a friend to help. There’s always someone who knows something and as a community or group of friends, you can arrange for a tutor for your children.

This sounds simplistic but it can actually help save not just lives, but money too. I know a couple that is homeschooling three children; not because of insecurity or money troubles, but rather dissatisfaction with the curriculum.

They felt like their little ones were being crammed with too much class work which wasn’t necessarily building their young minds. I agree with their decision. Why do children have to struggle with 16 plus subjects? If I know that my child has an inclination to sciences and not arts or vice versa, I would want them to have an opportunity to develop skills in a field they’re more likely to excel in.

For four years in O-level, I studied agriculture, home economics, commerce, accounts, mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, English, history, geography, C.R.E and so many other subjects I can’t even remember, only to drop all but four at A-level!

It’s good to learn about electricity, light, bones, titration, periodic table, the Alps, North America and everything else we were taught but at the same time, it would be nice to focus on something you’re passionate about, whether that’s music, carpentry or engineering.

That is the strongest case for homeschooling a child. If the traditional system is not working for your children, try this other option. By the way, the list of home-schooled alumni, if there’s such a thing, is quite impressive.

At least 14 former US presidents were home-schooled, including Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington and Woodrow Wilson.

The genius Albert Einstein was too, as were the founder of modern nursing, Florence Nightingale, authors Leonardo da Vinci, C.S. Lewis, Charles Dickens, Agatha Christie and Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain); actor Charlie Chaplin, Whoopi Goldberg, musicians Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Louis Armstrong and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Will Smith and John Travolta’s children are home-schooled too! So, who’s ready to try it out?

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