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  • Writer's pictureJohn Pilkington

Home Schooling "RESCUES" Plan

Updated: Aug 26, 2020

Teachers are among the most organized of professionals, even though you may not believe it. I know, I know - you remember that crazy English/Afrikaans/History teacher who rummaged around on the desk, seemingly confused, but she still got you to do work, analysed the poems beforehand, set assessments, marked, and somehow emerged with a personalized and accurate comment on your report. [You may not have liked the comment, but it was accurate.]

We tend to share stories about the less-capable teachers, but we didn’t even notice all those other teachers who seamlessly flowed from Grade 8 in period 1, to Grade 12 in period 2, before the Grade 11’s piled in just before lunch. Then, after a marking period for period 4, the day ended with Grade 9, before “Miss” or “Sir” magically became the 1st Team coach.

Somewhere before tomorrow arrived, they shopped for the family, helped their own kids with homework, listened to their spouse and kids’ triumphs and tragedies, marked work, prepared for four more periods, and chose the team for the match on Wednesday.

While all that was going on, they had to hand in their own work for checking and approval by their HODs, and set the first draft of the June exam.

They also answered emails about:

· Musi missing a test to leave early for the Kruger Park this weekend,

· Why Charlie should not have been sent to detention,

· How come ‘Bhule wasn’t given another mark for Question 2a,

· Why the fees are so high yet Lee is only getting 66% for maths,

· Mrs Smythe is not answering her WhatsApps at 21:07; please tell her to go online.

These are ALL absolutely true examples!

Now, you are part of the teacher’s role. It’s frustrating, often confusing, and you have discovered some things:

· Your kid doesn’t think like you. [You wonder if he thinks at all.]

· They aren’t interested in science, even though it was your favourite subject.

· You don’t know everything! I met a mom who ‘phoned the grade 3 teacher to ask how to do the maths challenge!

How, though, do you cope with your two kids and their work programme without resorting to mumbled threats under your breath, as you strongly consider risking them to COVID at your local school?

Home schooling is hard, even humbling, but it’s survivable - with R.E.S.C.U.E.S!


Get up; get ready; get on with it!

Have set times to rise, eat, work, play, and chill.

School kids feel safe within a known routine.


Be concerned about you child’s educational experience and fears.

COVID schooling isn't their fault, and the changes are scary for many.

Education is so much more than the maths questions of the day.


Be organized; have a calendar and a daily plan

Work space[s] should be neat and clean

Books should be stacked in specific places

All necessary stationery and so on should be plentiful and available


Kids will be kids, and they do need supervision

Follow up on their work. Insist that it be done properly

Guide, don't bludgeon - believe it or not, that's what most teachers really do


Know the schedule, subjects, and expectations of the school or programme

There are expectations on the kids AND on you - know both sides

Is there a timetable to follow with online contact?

Can they work on a subject when they prefer?


Show that you are keen and involved.

Don’t be grumpy about the schooling situation - its not their fault!


Please deliberately separate school and family moments.

Don’t ask in the middle of the family’s favourite show if they’ve finished their maths.

Let the done/not done algebra task rest ‘til tomorrow rather than ruin the evening.

If you're uncertain, too busy, overly pressured, get hold of a teacher for advice, or check with experienced professionals about other support options.

Focus Education Centres: safe, home-from-home education that goes beyond schooling.

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