So as you know, it’s no secret just how much I loathed online learning. But I must admit that as we celebrate the end of the term (thank goodness), I find that I am also grateful for this online distance learning experience that taught me, amongst others, the following:
Yes, we had our ups and downs but through the process, I learned to be patient with my offspring but also, more importantly, to be patient with myself and everyone else.
I discovered that teaching a child requires me to be calmer during adversity and opt for calling people with their pet names when I really want to shout and pull my hair out as I explain something for the tenth time. I’ve come to understand that trying to explain something like you are explaining it to a six-year-old is a rare and difficult skill.
So next time someone says to me in a meeting – “explain it to me like I am a six-year-old”, I will definitely think back on this experience and ask them to think twice about whether they really mean that.
My kids have become more independent
During this experience, out of sheer frustration, I encouraged them to try coming up with a solution themselves before coming to me for assistance. (Well, in all honesty, I used this tactic to buy myself time).
But I would find myself holding back emotional tears when eventually, my learners would come to me with a completed activity, no blank spaces whatsoever, and a smile with the simple words “mommy I tried my best”️. In those moments I felt a deep sense of pride in the fact that they would have given their task their best effort – which I firmly believe is one of the most important lessons in life – the ability to just keep trying and never give up.
Punctuality and planning
Thanks to our homeschooling experience, the little people learned the importance of time management. We would plan our lesson times and menu (breakfast and lunch) for the week and I would paste our schedules on the refrigerator for all to see and follow.
Although sticking to the schedule also proved to be a little tricky, because I would have to balance my work / their schooling and running the household, we still soldiered on. At times things would fall off our schedule but I’m glad to report that my little people would- every day without fail – remind me each time the clock struck 10am and 2.30pm – Break time at 10am and 2.30pm school comes out. No compromises were made *winks*.
Eventually, we got to a stage where people set their own alarm for wake up time, logged on independently, and used the teacher’s checklist to complete their tasks. This included not doing the activities marked *not for submission* because that’s what’s the teachers said. Oh yes, this is another thing I learned – The dad and I may be the bosses in this house, but there is no comeback once a little person declares “ But Teachers said this or that” or “that’s not what Teacher said”.
Today as we mark the last day of term (yes, today is the last day of school for term 3) I am not ashamed to say I’m probably the most ecstatic person in this house. It’s officially term break and this means, no school, no lessons, no WhatsApp messages from teachers (no offence) no more Microsoft teams!!
But as we wait for our Grade 2 and Grade 3 term 3 reports, I must admit that I feel a knot in my stomach.
I hope we did well and that dad will be impressed with our report cards (the horror, if the results are not impressive and mommy was the teacher).
But ultimately as much as I appreciate the lessons. I hope we don’t face another Level 5 go back to Microsoft teams. In other words: Teacher, you are deeply appreciated.
Lebogang Mabunda is a mother of three Luyanda (9), Masana (8), and Musa (3).
She has a background in marketing and brand strategy and has worked in the public sector for over 15 years and is now an entrepreneur and the co-founder of Lily Pods Kids Clothing Range.