That Homeschooling in Kenya is getting popular day by day is not in contestation. There is a lot of misunderstanding however as to what Homeschooling is actually about. So, in this article we will look at what homeschooling is in details.
Before we narrow down to homeschooling and its benefits, let’s take a look at the popular schooling options available to you.
Popular Schooling Options
There are about six schooling options available to parents and students. The said options vary in terms of popularity, benefits and practicability. Below are the top schooling options in the world:
Public Schooling: Uses a nationwide curriculum, taught by trained teachers to students in a class of between 25 – 50. The main advantage of public schooling is that their certification is always acceptable countrywide. The main demerit, however, is that you don’t have a say on the curriculum.
Private School: May offer alternative curriculum to the one offered by public schools and usually have smaller classes. The main selling point of private schools is a flexible curriculum and the keen attention they offer students. The downside is that they are mostly expensive and of course your kids are away from home 180 days a year.
Public school at home: Commonly called a virtual school, a professional offers the public curriculum to your children from the comfort of your home. This may be done online in most cases or via physically from your home. Learning from home has the advantage of limiting the student exposure to others. The negative however, remain the fact that you have no control over the curriculum.
University-Model: Technically a hybrid of homeschooling and private school. For instance, the students may follow an homeschool curriculum for 3 days and resume group classes for the remainder of the week. The upside is that you have some control over the curriculum. The demerit of this, on the other hand, is confusion between home curriculum and group lessons and of course the student is still away 20 hours a week.
Unschooling: This is where the child decides what to learn when. Simply put the child is on the driver’s seat with some oversight from parents or teachers. You can call a special form of homeschooling. Now, the good thing about this is that you child has to learn what they are actually interesting in. The disadvantage is that the child may take you on a wild goose chase by changing interest more often
Homeschooling: Whatever model it takes, the parent is at the center of deciding what and when the child learns. The advantage here is that you have control over the curriculum your kid takes. You always have all the time with your kids since they’ll be learning from home. The challenge however, is the cost of materials (or hiring a tutor in case you can’t do the teaching yourself.
We just mentioned homeschooling, so what really is this schooling option about and why should you consider it?
What is homeschooling?
Simply put, homeschooling is the training of children at home or places other than school. For instance, you can decide to educate your kids from home instead of taking them to the nearest public or private school. In that case, we’d say you are homeschooling your children.
How the actual homeschooling works varies from home to home. While you may prefer to train your kids yourself, others do hire trained tutors. Again, you may like the a highly-structured method (based on lessons taught in traditional schools) while other may take the free-form routes like unschooling.
The unifying factor is that homeschooling in Kenya (and anywhere else) guarantees personalized tuition. The one-on-one mode of training is an experience that is otherwise unavailable in traditional schools.
Read more: The History of Homeschooling
Now that we understand what homeschool is, let’s deal with the elephant in the room…
Is Homeschooling legal in Kenya?
You don’t to engage in schooling option whose legality you aren’t sure of, right? Well, the legality of homeschooling in Kenya has been a subject of debate for some time. Is homeschooling legal in Kenya? Yes.
Based on the reading of the Basic Education Act of 2013, especially in reference to the legality of alternative forms of education, nothing discourages or criminalizes homeschooling. Most importantly, the Alternative Education Policy officially recognizes non-formal education.
To makes more structured, the Association of Homeschoolers and the East Africa Christian Home-educators (EACH) are looking into ways to legislate homeschooling. This way, the parents can free choose to homeschool their children without having to worry about the legality of the process.
The long and short of these is, homeschooling in Kenya is legal and recognized by the law. True, the schooling option could be better structured in Kenya, but it is not illegal by any standard.
Types of Homeschooling in Kenya
So far, we’ve looked into the schooling options available for you as a parent. We’ve also defined homeschooling and confirmed that it is legal in Kenya. But we move into the main differences between homeschool and traditional schools, let us look at the models of homeschooling in Kenya
School At Home: This is where you create a semblance of a class in your home. You may use the kitchen table, or have a separate room with desks to make learning comfortable. School at home is arguably the most popular homeschooling model in Kenya.
Unit Studies: Basically, you study multiple subjects using a single theme. For instance, you can teach mathematics or business studies using a location or an historical event. This model is popular because it’s more a hands-on approach and can be so broad.
Classical: Unlike other hands-on and video-based models, the Classical education focuses on Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric. In some cases, a homeschool can inject Christian perspective to create a multi-pronged approach. Since it is language-based approach, classical model of homeschooling is probably the easiest to follow.
Montessori: Following the teaching of Italian Maria Montessori, you group kids (of different ages) in a classroom with the aim of promoting socialization and mutual respect naturally. This model may require a trained professional and other concrete materials to achieve the desired learning environment.
Online Public School: Technically not homeschoolers since they may follow a curriculum the parent has no say over. However, since they are studying from home (albeit virtually), the parent can introduce other lessons or even a new curriculum altogether.
Read More: Homeschooling Models in detail
Without further ado, let’s now delve into what you need to start homeschooling.
You are interested in homeschooling, right? Well, before you start, here are something you must take care of first:
Have a long-term plan: As independent as homeschooling may sound, you’ll still need some form of certification. In Kenya for instance, the Certificate of Secondary Education are important is not a requirement in most instances. So, have a plan for KCSE, IGCSE etc. before venturing into homeschooling.
You’ll need money: Homeschooling need serious investment in terms resources. Assuming you intend to train your kids yourself, you’ll need some savings to keep the lights on. I mean, teaching your children won’t give you enough time to earn a living. And, hiring a tutor also costs money. In short, set aside some funds before you start homeschooling.
You’ll need time: It matters not if you the one teaching or you plan to hire a tutor, you must be available for your kids. The whole point of homeschooling, lest you forget, is to closely monitor and influence the education of your kids. You have to commit your time and by time, I mean a lot of it.
The learner’s consent: This is often ignored by some parents (especially in Kenya), but the consent of your child is so important. Without the student understanding why homeschooling is better than traditional schooling, chances are they’ll be everything but cooperative. So, ensure you convince the student and have their consent first before you begin homeschooling.
Differences between homeschooling and normal schools
Now that you know what it takes to venture into homeschooling, let’s see how different it is from normal schools. To paint the best picture, we’ll look at the differences in terms of:
Academic Environment: While a traditional school exposes a student to other groups of students, where they may inadvertently acquire unsound morals, homeschooling allows you to control what your kid learns and who they associate with.
Moreover, the parent has zero control over the academic environment in public school a luxury they are afforded through homeschooling. You also get to enjoy social time in addition to limited distraction with home education.
Individualized Attention: While traditional schools go for handling many at once, homeschooling is all about individualized attention. Truth be told, the attention a student in a class of 50 gets from a teacher is nothing closer to what a one-on-one lesson affords the same child.
In fact, the fact that one teacher is expected to handle dozens of students at once also leads to other falling behind. It is difficult to offer proper instruction for projects and assignments to a class of 50 compared to instructing one kid at a time.
Curriculum: Normal schools run a pre-determined curriculum and there is nothing a parent can do even if they didn’t like it. In homeschooling however, the parent can choose the right curriculum for their children based on their age and goals in life.
The curriculum, apart from being too rigid in most cases, may never carter for students with special needs or who require special attention. Homeschooling in Kenya give you the chance to tailor learning to meet the needs of students with special needs.
Health and Safety: While most schools do take matters health seriously, they cannot control high communicable diseases like flu and colds. It is nearly impossible to prevent exposure to germs in a traditional school. On the other hand, homeschool protects your child against unnecessary exposure hence keeping them healthy.
Put differently, it is easier to keep students healthy and safe in a homeschool environment compared to a traditional public/private school.
Social Aspect: Whereas students in public schools have a robust social life, those undergoing homeschooling may miss big on that front. Unless the parent finds a way of signing up their kids for sport and community clubs, they mostly end up with little to no social life.
It is safe to say, when it comes to social life, public schools score big with the exception of homeschoolers with ample time for mingling and playing.
Learning Time: Traditional schools have a fixed learning schedule. Most school kids in Kenya go to school as early as 6am only to return home at 4pm. They return home to do homework and prepare for tests hence barely enough break. Homeschoolers, on the other hand, have flexible timetable as they can learn when they want however, they like.
While some may see the public-school learning hours as a blessing for parents to go to work, the flexible schedule when learning from home means you can go to work too.
With the differences out the way, it’s time to probe the advantages of home education and challenges facing homeschooling in Kenya, shall we?
Benefits of Homeschooling in Kenya
There are several reasons why more and more parents are embracing homeschooling. Below are some of the benefits of training your kids from home (either by yourself or through the services of a tutor):
Blended learning: Home-based learning offers a variety of curricula, unlike traditional schools. A student has the freedom to try different curricula before settling on the most rewarding. With access to almost limitless resources and materials, homeschooling guarantees superior content delivery. The result is a fully-equipped student, competent enough to compete in the fast-pacing world.
Plenty of Parenting Time: Unlike public schools where the parent is barely involved in the learning process of their kid, homeschooling allows you to be a super parent. That you spend the most time with your kid(s) at home means more parenting time. From helping them choose the right curriculum to instilling family values, homeschoolers have it all.
Caters for special needs: Homeschooling is the only option for children with special needs. Not only does it offer a personal and individualized way of learning, but there are also zero chances of stigmatization. With intact self-esteem, your child will explore their potential to the fullest. From your home or one of the many homeschooling centers in Kenya, they’ll learn the value of individual differences
Personalized learning: Want to learn at your own pace? Well, nothing comes close to homeschooling in making that possible. To cater for slow learners, this model focuses a teacher on a single kid at a time. This inspires the student to do better.
Homeschooling is flexible: Instead of waking up at 4 am to catch the bus, your kid chooses when to learn. This eliminates pressure and gives the student enough time rests. Ultimately, students exhibit a higher understanding of the subjects. The flexible schedule also means you don’t have to wait for national holidays to take your kids on a vacation.
Happier and more productive adults: According to a Research (by Dr. Ray in 2003), homeschoolers were more active in the community and were happier. The research also found that homeschoolers tended to score high grades and were mostly admitted in Ivy League Universities. Not that those who undergo public/private school don’t perform in school, they were just not at par with homeschoolers.
Effective and efficient learning: A low student-teacher ratio makes homeschooling efficient. Again, parents choose contextual learning which translates into skills across all academic platforms. Students can employ inquiry-based learning. This helps learners develop their critical thinking, an important element in someone’s future.
Focuses on life skills: Homeschooling gives parents the chance to focus their children to learning life skills. Such skills prepare the learner for adulthood. Besides, the parents have ample time to introduce their kids to informal business ideas and opportunities.
More emotional freedom: Without the stress that comes with the need to ‘fit in’, homeschoolers end up emotionally stronger than their counterparts in traditional schools. Remember, the absence of bullying and social pressure produces emotionally mature adults. It is therefore very rare to find homeschoolers hooked on drugs.
Encourages Independence: Research shows that autonomy is a crucial aspect of efficient learning. Homeschooled kids can decide what to learn and how to go about it. The result is independence in real-life situations and accountable adults.
As you might have gathered already, there are more reasons to venture into homeschooling than the ones listed above. The point is, you’ll be in for some success should you embrace homeschooling, especially in Kenya
Challenges associated with Homeschooling in Kenya
They say nothing is without challenges and homeschooling is no exception. While most these challenges surmountable, you need to know them just in case.
Can Be Expensive: Compared to a public school or chartered one, you are likely to spend more on your kids if you choose to school them at home. At times, homeschool may mean one parent stays from home, which in turn results in a reduction in house income. The question you should answer, however, is whether the return on investment will be worth it.
May be frustrating: This is true especially if you choose to tutor your kids alone. You’ll have to learn the curriculum and take lessons on how to do homeschooling the right way. There is the aspect of having to be patient with your especially when you can see they are really struggling to learn the basics. What about having to spend several hours a day with your kids, it might be a handful for some parents with specificity to those who are getting their kids out of public school.
Not fully embraced: While you may understand the benefits of tutoring our kids from home, other members of your family and friends may not be comfortable with your choice of school option. It gets worse when your decision becomes a source of ridicule and strong opposition from people whose views you really care about. The thing is, not as many people understand homeschooling in Kenya and it can be quite a task to justify it.
Not so much resources: Granted, there may be tones of books and materials out there to get you started. But the resources are nothing close to what traditional schools enjoy. At times, the resources may be barely relevant to your chosen homeschooling model. All in all, you may get what you are looking for to start homeschooling or prep your students for exams, just don’t expect that all the time.
Uncertainty: Every parent worry about their kids, most importantly, their education. Since homeschooling is not fully structured and legislated, a parent may if the choice to homeschool was the right one. Such worries eat into the tutor’s confidence and may year unwanted results in the student. What about not knowing where to start? From picking the right home education method to getting the right tutor, you may be disoriented at first.
How to pick the right homeschooling curriculum
Well, well, you’ve decided homeschooling is the right path for you and your kids, but how do you go about deciding on the best curriculum? For started there are dozens of curricula to choose from and this can be daunting at times. Don’t worry, though, this section got you covered. Here are the five things that will help you settle on a curriculum.
Budget: They say you should cut your coat according to your size or the clothe. The same applies to homeschooling curricula. Going for one that will cost you a fortune when you aren’t sure of your finances is a bad move. Check how much you have and go for a curriculum that meets your budget and student’s learning needs.
Reviews: Nothing beats word of mouth or personal recommendations. Before you settle on a curriculum, ask friends what their favorite choice is and why. You may also scour the internet for reliable online reviews to help you find what’s not just trusted but a curriculum suitable for your kid(s). Let me repeat, don’t shy away from speaking to friends.
Interests: What is your kid interested in? What are they passionate about? Is there a curriculum out there that covers precisely what they need? Well, that’s how interest should guide your choice of a curriculum. Since homeschooling is basically give your kids what they are interested in as opposed to fixed lessons (some which they may never need) you can’t compromise here.
Time: Assuming you go for a curriculum that fits in over 6 subjects a day, do you have the time? Time is everything when it comes to matters homeschooling and you MUST settle on a course you can realistically handle. Don’t go for what is popular knowing too well you don’t have the time for see it through.
Priorities: What do you want to achieve? I mean, you won’t skip public school if you didn’t have a specific goal and priorities. Let these guide your choice for a curriculum. Going for what will not achieve your goals within your timelines is a disaster. Never forget that!
Do you understand what homeschooling in Kenya is about? From its definition to the learning models to the requirements? What about the other available schooling options, would you easily cite why home education is a better option? Well, that plus the understanding of the challenge’s homeschoolers might face is all you need to get started schooling your kids at home.
If you have the time (a serious commitment this is), some budget (because homeschooling may be resource-demanding), and a relevant curriculum and you are good to go. In fact, you can turn one of your rooms into an ultra-modern class and start teaching your kids today.
Wait, what if you neither have the time nor the skills to venture into homeschooling? I mean, being interested in something and being able to see it through are two different things. What if you’ve settled on homeschool as your schooling option but don’t have what it takes to see it though? Well, that’s where we come.
At Lifehack Academy, we breathe homeschooling. We’ve been doing this for years and need no more than a day to get you up and running. In fact, we’ve done the research, undergone the training and acquired the materials needed for home education so that you don’t have to.
All you have to do is get in touch with us now and our experienced and highly qualified staff will gladly walk you through a homeschooling package you won’t resist.
Remember, consultation is free and can be both physical or virtual. You have no excuse.
What are you waiting for, get in touch now and let’s join you in shaping your kid’s academic future without breaking the bank.
Otherwise, feel free to share the blog post (if you found it useful) and or ask your questions via the comment section. We are here to engage you and answer all your question concerning homeschooling in Kenya.