All you need to know about homeschooling your kids: Perspective of a Ghanaian mother
One thing I love about social media is the ability to meet new and like-minded people. On a beautiful day in February, I posted about the times parents’ drop-off and pick-up their kids from school and a comment from Sharon was the start to our many engagements on the topic of homeschooling. I have been intrigued and curious for some time now about how parents run a homeschool schedule for their kids and most importantly, how they help ensure that their kids have a well-developed social life. So, the minute she made it known to me that she doesn’t go through the school drop-offs and pick-ups because she homeschools, I instantly sought permission to enter her DM and learn for myself and also on your behalf, of course. We had an Instagram live session on the topic and as per my initial plan we have the blog post available now.
What is homeschooling?
According to parents.com, homeschooling involves the education of children by their parents instead of leaving the responsibility to school institutions. Some reasons why parents opt for this might be due to dissatisfaction with the current educational system or differing religious or educational philosophies.
Sharon was in Ghana and had to relocate to Canada at a point with her family. She was not happy with the current public school system in Canada and their religious beliefs and practices. As a result, she made a decision together with her husband and after hearing from God to withdraw her child from school and start the process of schooling her at home.
How do you go about homeschooling your child?
I researched and asked around till I found what would work for myself and my family. I finally discovered Abeka, a very comprehensive and well-developed Christian based curriculum. (Neither Sharon or myself are affiliated with Abeka.com). It runs on an annual subscription and it has the flexibility of a monthly payment plan option.
How do you structure learning for your child?
I have a structure in place. Most importantly, I ensure that there is no TV in the morning. We wake up at 8am and have an hour set aside for morning devotion and breakfast. By 9:30am, we are seated and class is in order. We have 3 classes in the morning and 2 classes in the afternoon. Abeka has video resources so I supervise and also add my own hands-on approach to help her with understanding what is being taught.
We have a 1-hour break. This break involves no screen time just my child playing and exploring on her own. She can opt to play outside or help me sort out lunch in the kitchen.
Fridays are homeschool-free days. This is an opportunity to explore and try out other activities outside of the “classroom”.
The easy subjects are usually tackled after break because of the limited attention span at this time of day.
We then proceed to clean and pack up afterwards. I also sometimes take walks with them in the park.
If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.Ignacio Estrada
We also take Christmas and summer breaks just like the traditional school systems. I use this period to revise what has already been studied with her.
Through homeschooling, I have gained insights into how my children learn and I am able to tailor the classes to their unique needs. For instance, when the kids are not active in the morning, I can start with Art instead of Math.
How do you ensure that your homeschooler has a social life? One school of thought is that homeschoolers struggle with social interactions
On the contrary, the kids do not miss out on peer interactions. For instance, I used to organize playdates back in Ghana. Playdates and Sunday school can help compensate for any social interaction your child might have missed from being homeschooled.
I am also very intentional about socializing. I have joined a homeschool community near me and we also organize playdates for our kids. Additionally, I have signed my daughter up for extracurricular activities including gymnastics so she gets the opportunity to interact with other kids. From the start, I inform my daughter about the concept of homeschool and traditional school so she does not feel she is different because she does not attend traditional school like majority of the children do.
I personally have a homeschool mentor who also provides guidance as and when I need help or advice.
Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.Albert Einstein
How do you manage homeschool with work?
I am a Finance professional but quit work to homeschool my children on a full-time basis. Currently I am into the design and production of African print clothing and accessories. I make time to attend to my business at the end of every day.
You can explore other fashion offers on her website.
What advice would you give other parents who are considering homeschooling their kids?
Be consistent and pace yourself.
It’s very important for both partners to be on the same page when a decision is made to homeschool your kids.
When you start, it is important to have a structure in place because children respond and thrive to a schedule.
Finally, always keep in mind that you are the parent in charge and not the other way round.
I learnt from Sharon that homeschooling can either be full-time or a complementary activity to the traditional school system. Thankfully, there is a growing awareness now that academics alone is not enough to guarantee the success of your child. The other side which is more hands-on and exploratory is needed to raise an open-minded child. If you are interested in homeschooling your kids and do not know how to go about it simply get in touch with Sharon via her Instagram handle. All the best!
The OMT brand focuses on inspiration, family life, entrepreneurship, youth and women empowerment and changing the African narrative a blog post at a time. If you have a story or experience to share or need answers to questions just reach out to me via firstname.lastname@example.org.