Last updated on Jun 17th, 2021 at 02:25 pm
While children have had to be home-schooled under various lockdown levels in SA due to the COVID-19 outbreak, many parents are asking whether they should continue homeschooling their kids once schools resume.
Education minister Angie Motshekga has reiterated that a basic education is compulsory by law, for children between the ages of 6 and 15. She therefore encourages parents of school-going children, who wish to keep their kids at home, to familiarise themselves with home education requirements for South Africa. This includes following an approved home curriculum and providing records of their child’s progress and proof of their end of year assessment.
But what about preschoolers?
The good news is you can homeschool your preschooler until grade one, without having to follow an approved home curriculum.
The question is: does your personality type suit your child’s learning style and do you feel you can homeschool successfully?
How personality types influence the homeschooling environment
While some parents seem to breeze through homeschool curriculums and structured learning with their little ones, others really struggle to get their kids to cooperate and adjust to the structured school routine at home. This can cause many fights and tears, which means no learning can take place.
So, why does this happen to some families?
One explanation is to look at your personality type versus your child’s. “There are roughly 16 personality types or categories which most people fall into,” explains Johannesburg-based educational psychologist, Lucy Robinson.
Your personality type can be determined by a personality test. Some of the main personality “types” include:
- Architect – Imaginative and strategic thinker with a plan for everything
- Commander – Bold, imaginative and strong willed, always finding a new way to do something
- Campaigner – Enthusiastic, creative and sociable free spirits
- Executive – Excellent administrator, brilliant at managing things or people
- Logistician- Practical and fact-minded individuals who are always reliable
- Advocate – Quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealists.
Although your personality type remains stable over your lifetime, there are new skills you can learn to adjust to your environment or whatever circumstances you find yourself in.
For example, introverts can learn to thrive in large social settings, and free spirits can learn to be more structured and strategic in certain situations. But this learned behaviour takes time and practice to master, which would explain why some children can struggle to adapt easily to changes in their environment.
“Some parents’ personality types (as well as their children’s), will find homeschooling more stretching than others,” says Lucy.
For instance, if you’re more structured with an “Architect” or “Logistician” personality type, and you prefer order and routine, you might like the idea of homeschooling because you can create a daily homeschooling schedule that suits you.
However, if your child is a “Commander” or “Campaigner” and is free spirited and spontaneous, you can see why there might be conflict.
“You might feel stressed because your child won’t settle down, focus and stay on schedule. Your child might get frustrated because you’re constantly trying to push him to get the work done, when all he wants to do is play or learn informally,” explains Lucy.
How to make homeschooling work for you and your child
It’s up to you to adjust to your child’s style of play and learning, rather than the other way around. It’s definitely a balancing act, as you want to maintain a happy, homeschooling environment while teaching your child effectively.
Lucy suggests playing to your personality strengths, while acknowledging your stretches and asking for help where needed. “It’s also a good idea to adopt a resilient mindset based on the Resilient Mindset Model, which is a skill that any personality type can embrace,” she adds.
When it comes to homeschooling your children, and creating the best environment, there are three pillars of a resilient mindset, you need to consider:
The goal is to be positive most days, and create a happy home environment, which is optimal for learning.
If you’re really stressed, and in a constant state of “fight or flight” it will be difficult to homeschool your child effectively. It’s important to keep your stress levels under control.
At a preschool age, children learn mostly through play in a non-stressful environment. While there still needs to be a routine in place, there needs to be a degree of flexibility in your day too.
Ask yourself whether your work and lifestyle allow for this type of flexibility. If not, your child might be better suited to formal schooling.
More about the expert:
Lucy Robinson is an educational psychologist in private practice in the north of Johannesburg. She has a special interest in anxiety and maternal mental health and she has worked extensively with children and adolescents. Learn more about Lucy Robinson here.