By Amreen Pathan
When we think of ‘home’, we (ideally) think of it as a place of relaxation and rest; a place where the working day ends.
It is no surprise then that the recent pandemic amalgamated this traditional concept of home with schoolish connotations when parents and guardians were forced to take a more active role in their children’s education with lessons moving to digital platforms. The home became a classroom, a playground, a cafeteria, a library, an office and most importantly, the parent became the teacher (in some official sense of the word).
The pandemic has been rough and homeschooling is most certainly not a breeze, but there are always silver linings. From a teacher’s perspective, one silver lining has been parent involvement with schooling, ranging from understanding the curriculum a little bit more to assisting with the physical learning and tasks set by the school.
I say ‘from a teacher’s perspective’ but actually, the biggest beneficiary is the child. Getting involved in your child’s education shows that you care about one of the biggest portions of their life. The more supported a child feels at home, the more effectively they will learn at school.
So it is not a question of supporting a child’s education at home, it’s a question of the extent to and how this should be done.
Below are three practical ways a parent can support a child’s education at home.
- Stay up to date
Possibly the easiest way a parent can support their child is attending parents’ evenings and staying up to date with any correspondence sent from the school, be this letters, emails or digital communication platforms set up by the schools to enable parents to track their child’s performance. Not everything requires a response of course but staying well informed will enable a three-way communication between teacher, parent and child in the future and start conversations about obstacles as well as celebrating achievements collectively.
I personally love it when I receive correspondence from parents asking how their children are performing and how better they could be supported. This shows the child that both parent and teacher care.
- Soft skills
Celebrate achievements, effort and progress. Teach your child time management and basic organisation so that they are not overwhelmed with work. Offer constructive feedback when required. Listen to their concerns and if they get something wrong, give them the time and moral support to tackle it again until they get it right.
Soft skills relate to how a person works and are highly valued in the workplace. They include interpersonal skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management and empathy among others.
Adopting and implementing the aforementioned strategies will mean you are well on your way to helping your child develop their soft skills in a way that will inadvertently extend beyond your child’s ability to cope at school.
- Out of school support
Aside from offering help with homework if they require it, give your child the opportunity to develop interests outside of school. This might mean encouraging them to join after school clubs and extra-curricular activities offered in school but could also look like cooking together, visiting libraries, going to museums, watching videos and listening to podcasts, spending some time in nature, partaking in sports and/or physical activity of some kind. Support your child’s reading development both at the primary and secondary school level by reading related literature such as articles, leaflets, blogs, magazines etc. Most importantly, encourage your child to ask questions about what they are learning and engage in conversations about it with them. For example, if they are studying biology at school, you might take this opportunity to discuss the miracle of the human body from an Islamic perspective. If they are studying history at school and something has sparked their curiosity, watch a documentary about it!
The takeaway is that education is not just English, Mathematics and Science. Education is passion and interest and curiosity and by doing any of the above, a parent can organically assist their child in their education without even knowing they are doing so.
I watched this video and the one point that struck me was that “[the parent is] not the teacher” in this situation. Granted, the host is discussing lockdown learning and yes, I did say at the very beginning that the parent became the teacher during the pandemic. But the point is to have fun with how you support your child’s education at home in a way teachers at school might not be able to. Education need not be a rigorous timetable of memorising and rigid routine. Instead, education at home should be about putting the fun back in learning and showing your child that you care.
What others ways do you support your child’s education at home? And if you are a homeschooler, what do you do to balance the ‘school’ and the ‘home’? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
#Education #LearningAtHome #SupportingChildren