When cabinet this week approved the re-opening of schools for non candidate classes, parents like me whose young primary school children have been stuck home breathed a sigh of relief.
That was before reading through the entire list of proposals, that only semi- candidate classes had been given the go ahead to return to school after almost a full year a home.
In March of 2020 when President Museveni announced a total shut down, parents had to get creative by finding ways to continue teaching our children at home ( work place printers were busier and rims of paper kept going at a faster rate).
The idea of homeschooling was new to many parents, exciting but also brought on anxiety. For a parent whose children’s learning is only done at school and homework done by the house help, it was a whole learning process to keep the little ones entertained and fed.
It had become so hard to organise and maintain in the children’s work spaces and the parents were growing impatient and irritable when the children seemed to not understand what was being taught. Some resorted to Television lessons until they became “boring.”
Parents relaxed and just let their children be, they’d start from where they left off when schools opened after all. But 11 months down the road, schools are still in a partial lock down.
With President Museveni on Thursday night advising that the younger children stay on at home, my anxiety levels immediately shot up. I do not have the patience of a teacher, and parents teaching their kids created anxiety for the children instead.
How many parents own lap tops at home to afford the luxury of online schooling? Or for this matter, seat around a radio for their mathematics lessons deep down in a village somewhere?
How smoothly will integrating children back into the classroom system and learning go?
Parents might have a hard time copying and staying creative, but our children are finding it more difficult especially if there is limited interaction with other children while at home as opposed to them being at school.
These few tips will help you, help your children cope for the next few months until July when hopefully, schools will be open to all students and pupils.
1 Stay on schedule. Keeping wake time, bedtime and meal time consistent helps children maintain their daily rhythm and comforting routines.
2 Co-create plans. Give children a sense of control by involving them in daily decision-making, like choosing an activity or what they’d like for lunch.
3 Get moving. Counter inactivity by incorporating movement and physical exercise into your at-home time – designate outside time or have take them to an open field somewhere and kick a ball!
4 Eat well. Spending a lot of time at home can lead to boredom and unhealthy eating habits, so pay attention to food quality and involve kids in healthy snack and meal preparation.
5 Prioritise learning and limit TV time. Did you know you are your child’s first and best teacher? Use school resources, books and educational websites and apps.
Get creative by turning everyday moments into brain-building opportunities. Most importantly, have fun learning together!