A helping hand with homeschooling: Some tools and tips for homeschooling parents and caregivers in South Africa during the lockdown.
- We take a moment to appreciate what parents and caregivers have accomplished during an immensely difficult time and reflect on the importance of self-care.
- The school should provide the syllabus and much of the learning material, but it’s up to the caregivers to create a learning environment.
- We share some tips and several valuable digital tools that can help with homeschooling.
The lockdown period in South Africa has been an immensely challenging time, especially for parents and caregivers with young children, who might be facing a precarious balance of work and home, within the confines of four walls. With schools only opening in a phased approach, many caregivers may also be grappling with the delivery of a provided syllabus from home, over and above their daily stresses.
During these times, caregivers must perform near superhuman feats of courage, patience and compassion every day. We hope that this short guide to homeschooling make your day a little bit easier.
Keeping your children (and yourself) focused
One would think that having fewer places to be would equate to having more time, but somehow, the day seems to disappear in a flash when staying home. On top of that, parents and caregivers who have been working from home might be juggling work and children, sometimes in 3-minute intervals. Together this means that making time for self-care is more difficult than it has ever been. And also more necessary than ever before. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to take some time for yourself, this is it. The importance of taking some time to do something for you cannot be overstated.
Tips for homeschooling
While we recognise that delivering a syllabus from home is not the same as actual homeschooling, nothing stops us from borrowing some of the tried and tested techniques and tips of homeschooling to help us navigate what might be unfamiliar to many caregivers. Here are some basics of homeschooling:
- Set a specific part of your home aside for schooling, so that children are able to “get in the zone” when the day begins, and switch off when they leave the zone at the end of the day. It helps with their concentration.
- Have a routine. It doesn’t have to mirror that of the school exactly, but you should use your school’s schedule as a guide. It’s recommended you write the routine down and stick it up somewhere so that it’s official. There needs to be a set time to get up, have breakfast, exercise, and so on. It will make it easier for kids to focus, and also make it easier for them to go back to school when it eventually resumes.
- Before you start, have a look at the work that needs to be done for the day, and make sure you understand it. Try clearing up confusing tasks with the teacher/parent group. You don’t want jarring interruptions to the day where you have to figure out what’s going on before continuing.
- Make sure they have a good breakfast and stay hydrated.
- Take regular breaks, like for example, 20-minute break for every 90 minutes of work, as concentration is fresh only for a short period.
- Try to get the work done as soon as possible. If it goes on for too long, the child may lose motivation.
- Try to stay up to date with the work. Children get demoralised if they end up having to do work on the weekend that could have been done during the week.
- Students above grade 5 should be able to manage their own workload, but be sure to check up and make sure they’re getting through the assigned resources.
Tools and resources that can help with homeschooling
In many cases the school should provide the necessary material, but there are digital tools available for those who still struggle with the homeschooling process, many of which are offering free services during the coronavirus lockdown.
WorksheetCloud — Free online video lessons
WorksheetCloud has online lessons that can be watched on YouTube. Simply click ‘join a class’ then pick the appropriate grade. You’ll see lessons, worksheets and short tests added every day for various subjects. All free during the period of the lockdown.
MyMathsApp — Brush up on multiplications and divisions
MyMathsApp is a useful tool for massaging the mathematical parts of the brain. You can choose between easy, intermediate and expert, and have the app randomly generate additions, subtractions, divisions and multiplications for your child to solve.
Snapplify.com — Free access to a wealth of educational material
Snapplify.com is also doing their part during the corona pandemic, offering free access to its catalogue of textbooks, which can be read with their app.
The rise of distance learning
As difficult as it may be for parents to manage the schooling of their children from home, distance learning technologies has made it a lot easier than it would have been a decade ago, and will continue to change the education and work sectors as we know it.
Speaking of which, SACAP has a range of online learning options for psychology and counselling on offer, for those who want to advance their education or even pursue a career in counselling or psychology. For more information, enquire now.