Home offers conducive environment for learning
One of the things Covid-19 has served to remind everyone is the educational function of a home. That education is not restricted to a classroom.
That is what Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has been harping on. Apart from being a sanctuary for the growth and development of children, a home is an educational institution in its own right.
In the final analysis, the school is not the only institution where children can get education.
The school provides a formal curriculum and exposes children to knowledge and skills relating to subject matter disciplines.
However, this is not the sole source of knowledge and skills. There is the informal curriculum which includes all the events, stimuli and activities that children undertake or experience outside the classroom and from which learning occurs.
The kind of experiences that children have while under the direction and influences of their family, in the context of this definition, is a curriculum.
An important part of the home curriculum is for children to learn family values and the changing role expectations for themselves towards other members of the family.
Parents and guardians bear the greatest responsibility for the kind of experiences children have when they wake up until the moment they sleep every day.
Education is supposed to prepare children for the responsibilities and ambiguities of adulthood and life.
The kind of educational experiences needed to prepare children for life is not limited not to academic education.
This is because there are two kinds of education: Education for earning a living and education for life.”
While education for earning a living is essential for success in the academics and material sense, education for life equips young people with the knowledge, skills and values needed to lead an ethical, empowering and socially beneficial life.
Ideal attainment of the two kinds of education depends on, not just the teacher and the school, but also on the involvement of parents and guardians in the education of their children.
Parental involvement doesn’t mean that parents must be literate or highly-educated.
Among the eight principles of education, educator and reformer Charlotte Mason affirmed that education was about an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life.
By atmosphere, Charlotte meant the surroundings in which the child grows up and by discipline she meant good habits.
On life, Charlotte meant academics that we should give children living thoughts and ideas, not just dry facts.
All these educational instruments complement each other. They are or should be present in the school and home environment.
The parental empowerment principle that under the Competency-Based Curriculum has simply affirmed an age-old principle of education: That parental involvement is very important in the education of children.
A parent doesn’t need to be educated to provide and supervise home learning during normal times and abnormal times such as Covid-19 has created for us.
All a parent needs is to provide daily routines or schedules for children between their waking hours and their sleeping time.
There is education in every sense of the word, in the all situations children go through, every task they undertake, with the advice, direction and in some cases, supervision of parents and guardians.
In addition, a lot of our daily life activities can be instructional; we can teach useful life skills by having kids help with chores, milking a cow, working on the family farm or businesses, cooking, laundry, along with reading together, and playing.
Home environment constitutes a valid educational environment for children.
It can help children continue learning, despite the unprecedented disruption that Covid-19 caused. —The writer is Communications Officer, Ministry of Education