The edge in homeschooling
Posted Thursday, April 19 2012 at 17:38
“Each child is different from the other and should be treated as an individual,” says Mary.
So when the time came to educate her own children, she deliberately embarked on the search for alternatives. The family had spent a few years in Australia, helping shape Mary’s decision.
“We had neighbours who homeschooled their children, their mothers worked from home and I liked the idea,” says Mary.
“I started homeschooling Mishel at the age of six when we came back to Kenya, although she had studied a year of kindergarten in Australia.”
Mary is not alone in this journey. There are more than a hundred families in Kenya that have put their children on a similar path.
Canute and Beryl Waswa are the parents of Shawana 6, Bogani 4 and Lakisha 2. They too have turned to homeschooling to educate their children.
It all began when the couple had to make a decision on the type of education to provide to their children.
It was one that they evaluated in depth and for a long time. “When my wife and I were discussing marriage and children, we decided that she would be a stay-at- home mother,” he says.
“We went around evaluating what our children would achieve at the end of the schooling curriculum and concluded that it was very restrictive.”
Canute and Beryl wanted more for their children – including Christianity and its values.
The couple also wanted to build their children’s self-esteem; enable them to explore their skills and talents; to instil soft skills and emotional intelligence; and to build their character.
But more than anything, they wanted to get their children off what they considered to be a conveyer belt system of education.
“The mode of delivery of the education system should be varied for each child depending on the learning style and ability of each,” Canute says.
Homeschooling as a concept has its roots in the West. British public broadcaster, BBC, traces the rising popularity of homeschooling to the challenge that African American families faced with the frequent outbreak of violence in learning institutions.
The rising cases of shootings in schools and availability of narcotics have continued to rock American school, leaving millions of households in a dilemma.