Among the most common issues I hear from parents as they are forced to homeschool their children because of the pandemic is that their children are not performing well.
There was a time when a mother sat beside me as I was waiting for my turn to enter a shop. She was wearing her mask and her face shield and looked so exhausted from carrying her heavy market bag with everything she bought and another back at her back which I presume is filled with learning modules for her children. She was muttering under her mask how tired she was and how she is so frustrated about her children. I thought she was talking to a friend. Apparently, she was talking to me. Just goes to show how anxious she really is about the situation.
So I asked, “How many children are you assisting at home?”. She said three. One in the first grade, another in the sixth grade, and then another in the 10th grade. She said she never thought that her children were so slow. She said she always believed that they were fast learners, Now, she say’s she cannot believe how they cannot follow even the simplest of instructions. She mentions how they are so glued to their gadgets and that they are not able to help at home at all.
Believe it or not, this is a common scenario among households today.
If you were there sitting with me, listening to this mother talk about her children, you might get the idea that she hates her children so much. However, as a mother, I know she loves her children so much that she cares a lot about how they are growing up. There is something in a mother’s voice of frustration that may sometimes sound so drastic, when in reality, it simply reflects the mother’s worry about her children’s future.
I just smiled at her and asked “how are you feeling right now?”. She paused, looked at me with a teary eye and told me, “You wanna know the truth?- Judge me all you want, but I want to give up-“
She looked at me with a wondering eye… “What do you mean but?”….
Then I replied, …”but you are here, you bought all these heavy supplies for your family, you got their learning modules from school, and you are here in this shop, probably to get a takeout to surprise your children and hopefully bring a smile in their faces”…
“You know why you’re doing all these? …Because you love them so much… and even though you want to give up, in your heart, you know you will try everything just to set a good path in front of them”….
She just looked at me. In my head I was saying “hopefully she agrees because that was a pretty long assumption I just laid down”; in my head, I was so nervous waiting for her response.
She then began to cry. I gave her a tissue. Then she said, ” I guess I am just too tired from doing everything. But you’re right, I love them, I love them so much- but there ought to be another way to do this homeschooling thing better than what I am doing now”
Like her, a lot of parents and guardians of young learners forced to stay at home and learn online or on their own are in search of the most practical way of handling this challenging turn of events in educating students.
The key answer: BE REALISTIC
So, what surrounds the idea of REALISM when it comes to homeschooling?
ONE: EVERY LEARNER HAS HIS OWN PACE
Teachers in classrooms were taught to handle mass classes with different individuals under their care who are expected to follow through the curriculum that was set for them to complete within the ten months of attending a school year.
However, this may not be the best setting for everyone else. Revolutionary movements towards educational progress highlight the need of every student to learn on their own pace as this is more beneficial than the setting of putting everyone within the general population.
So, if you are working with your child at home, make sure you see him based on his pace and not on what you except from him. If there are instances that your child does not reach your expectations, try not to be the source of stress for your child. Instead, find ways to motivate your young learner better with a calm approach.
Remember how you want to be taught when you were young? Do the same with your child today.
TWO: DO NOT BE IN A RACE WITH HIS PEERS
The great thing about homeschooling is that it removes the concept classroom competition. As a parent, don’t be the one to bring the competition at your home. Instead, create an environment that will help your child see the better side of learning.
Avoid comparing your young learner with the progress of others. Stay on his pace and make sure that what he learned stays in his mind and does not just pass by as answers to his modules or test questions.
At home, learning should not just be about the grade, but about the application.
THREE: ALWAYS BE COMPASIONATE
When you are realistic, you are able to let go of your expectations and focus more on your child.
Let homschool be the breath of fresh air that your child needs as he stays away from the pressures of competing with others in his class.
Lastly, give yourself and your child that all too elusive break that you need to ease you from all the stress that forced homeschooling has put you through this year.