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The edge in homeschooling

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Photo/Diana Ngila  Mishel Muriuki (left) with her mother, Mary Muriuki-Mbacha, during the interview. With homeschooling, curriculum developers and parents create individualised plans for children to follow.

Photo/Diana Ngila Mishel Muriuki (left) with her mother, Mary Muriuki-Mbacha, during the interview. With homeschooling, curriculum developers and parents create individualised plans for children to follow.  

By DOREEN WAINAINAH

Posted  Thursday, April 19  2012 at  17:38

The university lecture hall was Mishel Muriuki’s first interaction with a formal classroom since she was six.

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It was a class of about 20, with a lecturer at the front of the room giving an endless theoretical lecture. She found it odd and, to say the least, limiting and strange.

Homeschooled from a tender age, Mishel’s study table at home was her classroom and her teachers were mostly people she knew.

Her course content had always been delivered and taught with practical examples. That was not the case with that first university lecture.

“It was very theoretical and I found it difficult to apply. He did not explain why I am learning this,” says Mishel, now a second-year student at Dalc University.

Mishel is just but one of the children from more than 100 Kenyan families that have been homeschooling their children.

Parents like Mishel’s mother, Mary Muriuki, are moving away from the one-size-fits-all system of education known to many as the only means to formal learning and are instead educating their children from the comfort of their homes.

Most parents who have made this choice say it is best for their children because it can be tailored to suit the family and the learning style of each child, as opposed to schools where all the children receive the same exams and delivery methods.

With homeschooling, curriculum developers and parents create individualised plans for children to follow.

BDLife takes a look at the journeys of home-scholars as they have braved the scorn of society and embarked on what they hope will become a revolution.

Mary is a mother of two, Mishel, 20, and Matthew, 16, and is also the founder of Elimu Nyumbani, an organisation that seeks to provide support and resources for home-scholars.

Her relationship with homeschooling started 14 years ago and the decision to have her children learn at home was not accidental.

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“I went to good schools,” she says, “but I had questions outside the syllabus that were not answered because the focus at school was on content for the exams.”

Mary believes that from an early age, she had talents that were not nurtured and her questions about life went unanswered because they were not part of the coursework.

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