I wasn’t ready to share this but then again, I thought sharing this now could help at least someone. I invite you to read this article where I share the reasons why I chose to homeschool my kids, the challenges, and the sweetness of this decision.
I’m a born and bread village girl from Ila-Orangun, a small town in Osun State, (marriage turned me to Lagos geh). While I was younger, I hated school so much… Why? My mom placed me in the most expensive school in town despite the fact that we struggled to eat 3 square meals. Did I forget to mention that we had a college of Education in my town that my mom’s age mates used to go then? My own primary school used to be a school for “Omo Lecturer”(Lecturers kids).
I used to go to school with Amala, Ewedu and Ponmo , Eba and Alasepo or beans garnished with a teaspoon of palm oil. You can’t imagine how these foods used to look, so I’d rather not eat while in school but go hungry and eat immediately I noticed my mates were out of class.
Sometimes when they don’t leave the class on time, I’d excuse myself leaving my food inside my well-wrapped sack bag in a school where my mates carried (posh (exquisite) bags). I could remember a day they gathered up to open my bag behind me, it was beans I took to school on this day, they were all shouting “come and see faeces in her plate“.
I came into the class and I was just crying. My result dropped from 5th to the 35th position in that term. No, I wasn’t an olodo, I was just being affected by self-esteem because that school wasn’t for my level, such that my class teacher, whose face I can’t recall advised my mom to change my school and after then, I became one of the best leading my class and I even sometimes get over marks like 30/20… Lol.
My hatred for school stemmed from the fact that I always shrink in the midst of my mates, such that it affected my talking to my classmates in schools I attended afterward.
During my year as an undergraduate Chemical Engineering student, there was a male Christian classmate that was homeschooled. His first time of writing an external exam (GCE and Jamb) brought him into the prestigious OAU in a prestigious department.
I admired him so much because he was so versed and could consume all our mathematical jargons within a short time even without attending the class. This made me develop the idea of homeschooling my kids.I did my best to research about it back then. After I had my first baby in my Industrial Attachment year, before resumption into part 5.
My first homeschooling experience was with my kid brother, we lost our mom and we couldn’t afford to pay his fees. He left his school while he was in primary 2 and spent a year with me before we could afford to put him in school, the school heads were actually undecided as to whether to put him in primary 5 or secondary school, after series of tests.
Now my moving to Lagos brought me straight to Lekki axis, if you live here or know someone here you’ll understand how expensive the schools here are. Imagine paying N350,000 per child, school that parents even grumble. A N100, 000 school that you’ll wonder why the hell you put your kid there and a N50, 000 school is like making the mistake of your life because this is the home where teachers are used up, a single teacher taking up to 6 subjects which in turn leads teachers to maltreating the kids.
As if this isn’t enough, little kids have to wake up by 5 am just to be on the road(in their various school buses) to avoid traffic. My first child was in a school I wasn’t so comfortable with and so I withdrew her and took up the challenge.
I came up with this. What is most important is educating your kids, it doesn’t have to be in four walls of a school. The people who started the system were themselves trained by their parents/ environment. They buried themselves in Labs and libraries to create better tomorrow that we now dogmatically follow whether it pays us or not.
So I chose to homeschool, even when so many thought I was mad and wasn’t the right thing to do in Nigeria. I asked them who determines what is right for my kids? I switched when I feared people will know how financially broke I was but I still did anyway and when they asked if it’s because of money, I affirmed.
It’s not easy to show your vulnerability sometimes but pretense drains out my blood and people soon get used to my honesty. Ask me “how are you?” And I’ll tell you “I’m hungry” if that’s how I feel at the moment you asked, even though I knew you weren’t ready for my kind of answer.
Some of them now bring their kids to me for schooling, but I don’t have the capacity for that because I’m a social entrepreneur too, a business creator but I’m homeschooling my kids because there’s joy in doing something for your ward and seeing results. I have a family member who argued with me then about my decision, telling me now that “it’s not bad after all, and that she thinks homeschooling is even better” My reply: I don’t know which is better, I’m only following what I believe will be best for me and kids at the moment and I can switch over without seeking anyone’s consent too.
Mind you, if you’re already homeschooling or you intend to start it, don’t think you’ll excel in it by bombarding them with loads of textbook consuming it from pali to pali (cover to cover), let their brains breath by introducing play; both indoor and outdoor with neighbours, visit recreation centers when you can, teach them handiwork, work each child based on his/her ability and never compare.
Don’t forget the rule of leverage especially Other People’s Time and Other People’s Energy while homeschooling. I can’t teach kong fu for example, so I’d rather get a martial art instructor to train them than breaking down my very own stainless hand. If you can’t swim, get a swimming instructor whenever you can afford and you can always trade these skills with whatever you’ve got in case you don’t have money, get teachers for other languages if you can’t do it and don’t ever forget IT for kids(this is not the starting point so don’t be afraid, it’s just what you need to bring in on the go whenever you can).
If you’re still wondering about the homeschooled children social life, then you probably don’t know about homeschooling cooperative…you can research that to enlighten yourself.
Please research about homeschooling and you’ll be glad even if you’re not going to eventually homeschool your wards.
Most importantly, pray before you decide, and pray always for success.
I’m not saying homeschooling is the best but it’s the best option for some people because this will help them to prepare both financially and morally for when the kids schooling in four walls of school really matters. They’re still small and can be nurtured while investing/preparing what you’ve got into their future. When you run helter-skelter now to get their school fees paid, what will you do when it gets more expensive and you don’t even have time to create your own wealth because you have to keep the job to be “secure”?.
Homeschooling can sometimes be demanding but not as you think, it gets really fun by the day and you get to learn an experience I can’t really explain, free from bondage and the dictates of society.
If you don’t underestimate yourself, if you don’t bother much about people’s dictates in your life, you’ll do it and succeed in it.
The decision I made back then, was what gave birth to starting an internet business and helping others to do same.
If I’d listened to the little voices that told be to live my life like everyone else, perhaps you won’t even know my name.
This post isn’t about comparing which is better between homeschooling and the conventional schooling, it’s about making a decision that works best for you, your kids and putting your best effort to make your decision right.
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Thank you for the long read and I hope you pick one or two lessons here.