Jamaican Parents Encouraged To Use Creative Ways To Homeschool Children

Regional Director in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (Region 4), Dr. Michelle Pinnock, is encouraging parents to use creative and engaging ways to effectively homeschool their children.

Schools across the island have been closed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic.

In an interview with JIS News, Dr. Pinnock said parents should consider all five senses when imparting lessons to their children.

“They (parents) need to understand that learning is a multisensory kind of system, meaning that we have to engage all the five senses,” she noted.

“What happens is that some parents just stick to the talking or the reading and so a number of children lose focus because it’s not engaging,” Dr. Pinnock added.

A multisensory learning approach describes teaching methods that involve engaging more than one sense at a time.

Dr. Pinnock said that parents must also understand a child’s short attention span, and make lessons shorter, similar to that of cartoons. “They (cartoons) are short; they take us to a point; they try to engage us. So, when we talk about homeschool teaching and learning, we have to be cognisant of the attention span, so shorten it (lesson),” she advised.

The Regional Director also outlined that parents must take note of their child’s interests and incorporate them into the homeschooling process.

“For example, if children are interested in cars and you are adding, multiplying, and dividing, speak to it (the math problem) in terms of cars,” she said.

She is also encouraging parents and guardians to utilise the various spaces in the home to teach their children, “because there are several things happening in and around the home that can help us with the teaching”.

Meanwhile, Dr. Pinnock also highlighted the importance of scheduling children’s activities while they are being homeschooled.

“Structure is very important…. . In school we talk about it in relation to a timetable. When we talk about a timetable, we are actually trying to get persons to be disciplined, so they know that they get up at this time and they are going to be doing work at certain times,” she said.

“Parents cannot believe that this (homeschooling) is an ad hoc type of thing. It has to be consistent, so a timetable is very important. With this timetable you do not have to stick to it, it can also be flexible, and changes can be made,” Dr. Pinnock said.