With schools closed and most children staying at home, a lot of parents have had to put on their teaching caps during the lockdown to ensure their children don’t fall behind on their schoolwork.
Many parents have voiced their struggles of home schooling their kids, including celebrity mom Halle Berry who recently admitted that home schooling her children has been hard. But one parent who seems to have gotten the hang of things is Bheka Ngubane (29) of Durban.
He recently shared a picture of his seven-year-old son, Lubanzi Ngubane, who he had just taught how to subtract. Luba, a Grade 1 learner, did exceptionally well considering the fact that he has been home schooled for the past two months by a father who isn’t a teacher by profession.
See his post here:
Speaking to DRUM, Bheka explains that it wasn’t easy at first. “It was difficult to home school my son in the beginning. Especially because now, as a parent, you have to put on another cap and not be just a parent but a teacher too. You’re trying to make your child understand that this is not a time to play,” he says.
“You, as a parent, also need to get yourself in the headspace that you’re being a teacher. That was a bit challenging at first.”
Bheka, who is currently working from home, says balancing his work and his son’s schoolwork has been tricky. However, he says having a routine has helped him to strike a balance. “We normally do schoolwork in the mornings, and on days when my own work is hectic we move schoolwork to the early hours of the evening. On weekends, we also try to do as much as we can. The days of the week don’t really matter, as long as we just get things done. But it has been hard.”
Luba’s school sends all that needs to be done for the week through a parents’ group chat.
The father also shared how stressful and emotionally draining it has been to try to teach your child something they don’t seem to understand it. “As a parent you end up stressing as well and thinking they won’t be able to progress to the next thing or even pass the grade if they don’t understand this. This forces you to think of new ways to help them understand better. It gets very emotional, but you just have to keep trying and trying,” he explains.
“I saw this as I was teaching him how to subtract. I had to try three different ways to make him understand and he still didn’t get it, and eventually I found the best way for me to be able to explain it to him and he got it. So, if you only stick to one teaching method, you might think they don’t understand, where as another method could work for them.”
Apart from the huge adjustment he’s had to make – trying to balance his work, being a parent and being a teacher to his son – the dad has shared how the lockdown has brought them closer. “This time has really brought me closer to my son. I got to know a lot about him – what keeps him going, what he likes,” he says. “Actually, our relationship has grown more.”
When we ask him how he feels about kids going back to school, Bheka says he has mixed feelings and thinks there’s still a lot of things that need to be thought through, done and discussed before schools can be reopened.
“I have mixed emotions and I’m not happy about talks regarding schools being reopened. Masks and kids do not mix, it’s like a game. These little people come back from school with no shoes, they lose their shirts, so there is a whole lot of thinking that needs to be done about the reopening of schools.”