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The national lockdown due to COVID-19 has seen many parents temporarily become teachers. Parents now have to juggle working from home and educating their children. And, while it might seem like a daunting task at first, teaching your kids at home can be done. All it takes is some planning, flexibility, teamwork, and creative scheduling.
Here are a few tips on how to make it work.
Trying to stick to a traditional school schedule where children work from 08:00 to 14:00 Monday through Friday is unrealistic. One of the many benefits of teaching your kids at home is that your schedule can be whatever works for you.
Depending on the hours you work, you can fit in a lesson before starting work in the morning, in the evenings after work, or even on weekends. If you work shifts, you can even shorten the “school week” by making the most of your days off. The key is to take advantage of the time you have, no matter when that is.
If your spouse/partner is on board, you can share the teaching-at-home load. If your work schedules differ, one parent can work on a few subjects, leaving the remaining subjects for the other parent – maybe Dad loves History and English while Mom excels at Maths and Science. Splitting up the responsibility this way allows each parent to contribute and to work to his or her strengths.
There are many free resources available online that can help your child learn and discover new things from the comfort of your home. ITSI is offering free access to Digital Lessons, these lessons provide a variety of top quality videos, images, animations, and simulations in an attractive and engaging way for subjects like Natural Sciences, Physical Sciences and more.
Cami is also offering a free trial so learners can practise their skills during the lockdown. The fun educational software programs encourage learners to play interactive games and to actively participate in solving sums and problems. The lessons are pre-planned, and the exercises are marked by the program, which means less work for you.
Excom is offering learners interactive CAPS-aligned e-books for free during the lockdown. Subjects include Mathematics, Business Studies, Physical Sciences, Accounting, Life Sciences and much more.
While you might not be able to take your child to a tutor for extra classes you can have the tutor come to you. Virtually, of course. Here’s how:
When you work and teach your kids at home, you may need to find inventive ways to sneak in learning during everyday activities. For example:
Working parents need to plan ahead. Check-in daily, perhaps during dinner, so that everyone is on the same page regarding your expectations. Discuss what you expect your children to do independently and when an adult will be available to help. During this time, be open to suggestions from your family about how to make things run smoothly.
Even the best-laid plans often go awry. This is especially true when teaching your children at home. Add to that the demands of a job, and you will quickly learn that things do not always go the way you planned. If/when that happens, make the most of what you can accomplish and try again the following day.
Once you get beyond the mindset that school must happen between set hours from Monday to Friday and that children should be in bed by 20:00, there’s room to get creative with your schedule. Evenings and weekends can be extremely productive, so use them well.
Educating your children while working from home is undoubtedly challenging, but it is not impossible. Follow the tips above to ensure your children can continue their learning journey at home.
By Danielle Barfoot and Elmien Ackerman, Optimi Classroom