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Wearing the teacher’s shoes

There are times when parents and teachers struggle to see the same child between the home and school environments…  Is this because home life is more relaxed, more free-flowing, or perhaps it is that there are less structured learning moments? Whatever the reason, parents all over South Africa are now required to observe, oversee, and facilitate their children’s learning in a more formal manner.

When expectations are placed on a child, we can see their abilities, capabilities, and attitudes in a different way to what we may be used to in a relaxed, go-with-the-flow type environment.

These ‘home-schooling’ times have been experienced in many different ways. Some have been able to use this time to encourage, learn together, and build on concepts. However, for many this time has been mostly testing. With schools trying hard to keep up with the curriculum comes the possibility of overscheduling work, failing to take into consideration parents continuing to work from home (with little or no choice), and there are others who have 2 or 3 children all needing facilitation and guidance with the scheduled school work and even more parents trying to juggle all of it at the same time.

What happens when we as parents assist and guide our children as best we can but continue to see our children struggle in their school work? Perhaps we notice their inability to concentrate, listen, follow an instruction, complete a task, or that they take on a negative attitude towards their learning.

Children learn and develop at different rates and stages. Still realistic expectations are essential as a means of setting and reaching goals, progressing, and growing. Sometimes children may not be able to meet an expectation, and we need to look at the reasons why.

Why is my child not able to answer the question? Why is my child uninterested in reading? Why is my child not able to follow a basic 3-part instruction?

It is crucial to take into consideration that the home learning environment may not be what the child is used to and that learning concepts from a screen can be challenging for many people…. But if we look carefully and notice that there is more to it than only the current situation, we can recognise that these seemingly basic concepts can often be enormous hurdles for children with learning disabilities and difficulties.

The question is: now that we are seeing the issues, what can we do about them? How can we strengthen our children, assist their independent learning journey, and help them to have a positive attitude while doing it?

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