For most countries around the world, COVID-19 has been the cause that schools have been ordered to close in a very real attempt to stop the spread of this deadly pandemic. The onus has now been placed on parents to ensure that their children keep busy and continue to learn during this trying time. Parents that aren’t teachers by profession have been tasked to delve deep and find a side of them that is either making them pull their hair out in bunches and run crying to the pantry cupboard more than twice a day and others have found that they have their home-schooling capabilities down to a tee!
Taking your child’s education into your own hands is something most parents never banked on. It is definitely a lot scarier than The Hunger Games – no doubt about that. There are of course the additional issues of Wi-Fi connectivity and data costs as every single South African is either working from home or streaming Netflix like never before.
But where there is a will, there is a way to keep your child learning and engaged. Here is our how-to tips list:
Online Platforms and Zero-rated Sites: There are quite a few telecommunication networks that have come to the rescue of many parents with zero-rated learning sites. Everything is for free and you won’t have to sell your house at the end of the month to make sure your telephone bill is covered. These include The Khan Academy from Telkom, Vodacom and MTNs e-school portals that contain learning materials for Grades R to 12. UNESCO, Socrative and Kohoot are also very user-friendly.
Learning apps are also a wonderful way of keeping learning on track and keeping children occupied on phones or tablets. Sisanda Techs is a wonderful example for South African learning, but there are no boundaries to apps that you search for on your iOS or Play Store.
For the little ones, there are many fun ways in which you can interact, especially when it comes to books and reading. During book sharing, allow your kiddie to point to and talk about the things that interest them in wordless books. Your role as a parent is to pay specific attention to what your child is focused on and interested in. This will spark a conversation and you will have the opportunity to focus on reading, speaking, and creative skillsets.
When it comes to session intervals of subject teaching, if you can, aim for an hour in the morning of two 30-minute sessions covering maths and English for example and in the afternoon practice learning together by finding an engaging topic to write, draw, take photos of, find facts, etc. to keep the learning experience as engaging as possible. We all know that children are definitely more likely to engage in topics that they actually show interest in, so the world is your oyster!
Also, remember to not completely turn your home into a school. There needs to be a balance and a very good one at that. Learning apps and online platforms will work wonders, but use this opportunity as a parent to teach your child valuable life skills as well. Cooking, baking, and playing educational board games together will give you the opportunity to step outside the regular ‘syllabus’ and teach them skills and general knowledge that can only come in handy as an adult.
You can do this and we salute each and every parent that has to take on this very different and very large responsibility!