Helping you to better navigate life's changes. #LoveChange

The toughest lesson I learned from home-schooling my child

The toughest lesson I learned from home-schooling my child

Working from home isn’t easy, when you’re schooling from home too.

"The workload was unbearable for a six-year-old. While assisting her, she would simply say: “Mommy, my hand is sore."

Working from home isn’t easy, when you’re schooling from home too.

I have often heard that there is no such thing as the perfect or the worst parent.

To our children, we are perfect when we do what they describe as being the best, and we are the worst parent whenever we apply the rule of discipline.

The beginning of 2021 was significantly stressful in my parenting journey. I almost ended up in a depression ward.

My daughter started grade 1 this year. What was meant to be an exciting start to her schooling career ended up with many unanswered questions.

For the first time in my life, I regretted not studying for a teaching degree. I was passionate about it while growing up, but my mother convinced me otherwise. So, I opted for journalism.

Had I qualified as a teacher, I would not have found myself stressing about my daughter’s education.

The 2021 schooling calendar was meant to commence mid-January.

Finally, the 1st of February was announced as the first day of schooling for private schools.

Yep! The excitement was back. My daughter had been longing to wear her school uniform. We fitted the outfit almost every week following the purchase in December.

At times, she would appear from her bedroom wearing the attire in front of guests. I had adjusted to her excitement.

Now that we were heading to school, there were COVID-19 regulations that needed to be applied.

As a former journalist, I had reported on a few stories where I covered angles of ‘the first day of school’.

Unfortunately, with my daughter, there were no moments to be captured. Nor were we allowed to walk her down the corridor to her classroom.

The moment we drove into the school property, our task was to drop her off and drive away.

We understood, and so did the little princess, who was in a rush to meet her classmates and make new friends.

The school had arranged to have children logon remotely on alternate days.

Little did I know that this was the beginning of my stress.

Imagine working from home with almost back-to-back meetings between 8am and 6pm, or even later, while having to teach your little one.

At times, Eskom would implement load shedding. Even worse, the school would send a message for earlier collection because a COVID-19 case had been identified.

If a case were detected, they would be home for three days or so. This meant I would be the teacher for the next coming days.

How was I going to cope? The anxiety started. I started stressing about my daughter’s mental wellbeing.

She would often cry when we could not have her logon for class. Not because we forgot, but because we had confused the passwords for her lessons.

She has five subjects per day, which includes literacy, maths, a first additional language, physical studies, and computer lessons in-between.

Some lessons were recorded. By the time she needed to focus on the recorded lessons, my daughter was exhausted. Schooling was now nine hours or even more at home.

There were times I kept her going longer, not because she was struggling, but because I was in meetings and did not want her to interrupt me.

Sometimes, I fed her way after lunch time at around 2pm or 3pm, because I was focused on my work. I had no one to assist.

Her dad, my husband, would leave in the morning for work and return just before sunset. Our home assistant left for Lesotho in December.

When she was due back in January, all the borders across the country were closed.

The struggle was real. I often felt that the teachers expected parents to do more home schooling compared to the first lockdown.

The workload was unbearable for a six-year-old. While assisting her, she would simply say: “Mommy, my hand is sore.”

This left me with no choice but to let her rest, despite live lessons taking place.

Towards the end of February, my husband was not well and was booked off for a week. His leave was extended with another two weeks as his condition deteriorated, but he soon recovered. However, this added more responsibility to my daily schedule.

A WhatsApp group and social media platforms placed the school under immense pressure to reopen for face-to face attendance.

We decided to take our daughter to school full-time from the beginning of March.

In April, she received her first academic report. I’m pleased to say, despite all the stress, on her part as well as mine, that she did exceptionally well.

Kutlwano Olifant

Change expert, Kutlwano Olifant, believes that the big change equals big opportunity.

Related stories

The Change Programme

Are you thinking about making a change? Or trying to make a change? Or dealing with some change that’s happened? Whether you’re getting married or having a baby, moving house or jobs, starting a diet or stopping smoking… the Change Programme is for you.

Start the programme now!

black and white pattern