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How to enrich kid's learning

Homeschooling centres are a growing trend in South Africa, with more and more parents looking into this as a viable option while they become disillusioned with mainstream schools. Here we take a look at some statistics of homeschooling in South Africa as well as how to enrich kids’ learning at your homeschooling centre.

What do the Statistics say?

 In South Africa, Ms. Dierdre Bester did some research at the University of South Africa (UNISA) with the following findings:

  • Children who receive home education at a homeschooling centre or at home perform far better in academics than their school counterparts and they are very well adapted socially.
  • Home educated children have a greater sense of responsibility, a positive self-image, improved self-confidence, a positive outlook on life, better time management skills, own opinion formation and better decision making ability, the ability to define and pursue their own goals and an independent work attitude.
  • Bester also stated that one must never assume that positive socialisation happens in schools. In fact quite the opposite can be true.
  • Homeschoolers can usually relate better than average both horizontally and vertically, often take leadership positions, have positive role models, have the tendency to build quality friendships and their self-image is not dependent on group pressure. Even in a homeschooling centre there are very few kids in classes and peer pressure is at a minimum.

What are Homeschooling Centres?

 Homeschooling centres in South Africa are literally centres where kids actually go to ‘school’ to learn. However, there are extremely small classes and in some instances there are only a few kids in the centre. They can range from fairly large centres to a centre that accommodates 4 kids. The options are growing by the day. Many kids don’t adjust well in mainstream schools, and a homeschooling centre is another option for parents to send their kids to, where they don’t have to teach them at home, but the environment of a homeschooling centre is more like a child being at home, while they can still make friends at the centre.

What Curriculums do Homeschooling Centres follow?

In South Africa there are a number of curriculums to follow for example Impak or even Brainline which are both considered excellent, and the homeschooling centre will choose the one that suits them. Parents can choose these curriculums or a learning centre will use one or the other, but there are plenty of other curriculums available, however these are the most popular amongst homeschooling centres.

The Learning Environment

The learning environment is more like a home than a school; however children are placed in classrooms with peers of different grades and receive a lot of one on one attention on a daily basis. However these classes are very small and range from about 2 students to about 5 students. Homework is given but only when work isn’t completed in class or if there are projects to complete. Parents often choose a homeschool centre so that they are still able to work, and their child is receiving a home style education with that one on one attention that they might need. Children go to the centre in normal clothes so no uniforms are required.

How to Enrich Kids’ Learning at your Homeschooling Centre

As a homeschooling centre, a particular curriculum will be followed, but there are also a number of ways to enrich kids’ education at your homeschooling centre. Here we list a number of ways to give them a more rounded and interesting curriculum with ideas to stimulate and involve kids in more enriching activities.

Here are a few ideas on how to enrich kids’ education at your homeschooling centre:

1. Take them on Outings

 If you’re studying Science or History then take them out to museums or other attractions in order to bring their learning to life. They can see the subject in action, so to speak which will leave a greater imprint on their brain as the subject comes to life. Kids love outings and this is a great way to keep their interest in particular subjects. This is a great idea on how to enrich kids’ education at your homeschooling centre.

2. Invest in the Right Equipment

 Here we’re talking about ‘equipment’ or ‘toys’ that again brings learning to life and allows your kids to experience learning in a whole new way while keeping their interest and involving them as opposed to just writing down answers on a sheet of paper. Let them explore with manipulative toys like the Spielgaben which will last for years as not only is it of extremely high quality, but it is suitable for kids from the age of 3 all the way up to kids aged 12. It teaches maths concepts, science concepts and much more. It will be an extremely valuable asset in your teaching methods and be a great precursor on how to enrich kids’ education at your homeschooling centre. They will love it, you will love it and everyone will be learning in a fun and enriching way.

3. Bring on the Language Learning

 As a homeschooling centre it’s important that you invest in a library that will encourage your kids to read more. Give them time during the day to visit the library and choose books to read or even to go home with them. You can also get a TV and show educational programmes that are directly related to subject matters that they are learning about. We’re not saying keep them glued to the TV all day, but sometimes TV in moderation with the right shows can really enrich your kids’ learning at your homeschooling centre.

4. Invest in Computers

 This is a great way in how to enrich your kids’ learning at your homeschooling centre as kids learn a lot by playing around on simple games. If you have the resources, you could also encourage kids to learn to code as part of their curriculum. This boosts maths skills and prepares them for the big wide world out there.

5. Arts and Crafts

Sometimes at a homeschooling centre there is so much focus on completing the curriculum that arts and crafts can take a back seat to learning. However, if you want to enrich your kids’ learning at your homeschooling centre then arts and crafts should form a part of your day. It’s amazing what you can create from just a few things and kids can get really creative here. Keep pencils, crayons, paints, paper, board, glue and other supplies to see the magic happen. There is also a lot of illustration, photo manipulation and animation software available for kids to bring their creativity to life.

6. Let the Music Roll

 Amazingly music is one of best activities to stimulate the brain. It has been shown that playing a musical instrument is one of the only ways to stimulate almost the entire brain. If you’re thinking of how to enrich kids’ learning at your homeschooling centre, then music should be a must. A study showed that children who listened to Mozart music for ten minutes performed better on spatial tasks. Dubbed, the “Mozart Effect” this line of research suggests that certain types of music can actually make kids smarter. Invest in some instruments that are affordable but allow your kids to use them during their day. You can even get creative and use other objects to make musical instruments like drums and more. To get really into music, consider a small karaoke machine and let the kids put on a music show!

7. Get them Moving

 If you’re wondering how to enrich kids’ education at homeschooling centres, then you really need to think about ways to get them moving to build gross motor and fine motor skills. A set like the Spielgaben will develop fine motor skills, while you’ll need to think of a few ways to get them moving whether it’s outside, if you have an outside section, or by getting some equipment for inside your centre. Most sporting equipment and constructive playthings will help your child develop eye-hand coordination and develop gross motor skills. In addition to being fun, physical activities develop the cerebellum; the part of the brain that controls some motor functions also plays a role in memory, decision-making, emotions, attention, spatial perception and language.

8. Help them to care about the Environment

A great way on how to enrich kids’ education at homeschooling centres is to get your kids to become aware of the environment and to really care for it. One way to do this in your centre is to have pets – you can have small pets like rabbits or hamsters or even fish, but your kids need to be responsible for them and take care of them. If you’ve got an outdoor section, then get them planting, and let them watch in wonder as their plants grow. Also so get some observation equipment where they can look up into the skies with a telescope or look down below with a microscope. All these things will make their learning experience more meaningful and fun too.

9. Build Interpersonal Skills

A homeschooling centre is the ideal environment for kids to interact with each other, even though there may only be a few kids. They’re getting a great homeschooling education, plus they have the added benefit of being around other kids. But you can help them to build these skills in great ways. Give them a supervised amount of time on the telephone – perhaps they can make a call for you. Also allow them to send messages from a computer – obviously this activity needs to be managed. You can have them send an email to their teacher or to their parents. This will give them a head start on the information superhighway. Also make sure there is enough time for games to really enrich kids’ education at homeschooling centres. It could be board games or even some active games like hide and seek. Make sure you’ve got a dedicated play area where the kids can all go and get some play time in. This will help build their social skills.

10. Build Intrapersonal Skills

During the day give the kids some quiet time – they often need some alone time without interactions or distraction. They need the time to listen to their own thoughts. You could encourage that they visit the library or create a quiet space in your homeschooling centre, where kids can go when they need a break. They might even want to go out in the garden. How to enrich kids’ education at homeschooling centres might also involve encouraging them to find a hobby – something that they can do on their own. Maybe they like photographing things, scrapbooking, journaling, stamp or coin collections or even drawing or listening to music. Try and find out what they’re passionate about and encourage them to follow that path. If they are able to find satisfaction in an alone-time hobby, they will develop their intrapersonal intelligence.

As homeschooling centres are more flexible, try and make sure that every child has their own desk if possible, as this will also allow them their own space.

These are just 10 strategies on how to enrich kids’ education at homeschooling centres, there are way more things to do in order to really engage kid’s in their learning adventure, and the benefit of a homeschool centre is the simple fact that you have more flexibility to bring learning to life. Your kids will love it and so will you.

Are there any strategies that you follow in order to enrich kids’ education at homeschooling centres that we haven’t covered here? We’d love to hear from you.

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