Seeing as it is Father’s Day, we wanted to talk to a homeschool dad to hear what he has to say about educating his children at home. We spoke to Sphamandla Xaba, husband to Thandazile Xaba and dad to five children, about how he experiences homeschooling.
How old are your children, and in what grade are they?
I have three children registered with Impaq: my twins, who are six years old (turning seven in October), are in Grade 2. My other daughter is five years old. I also have a three-year-old and a one-year-old who are not registered with Impaq yet.
When did your child(ren) start studying through Impaq?
We registered them in September 2020 for the 2021 academic year. We started using the lesson material in January this year.
Why did you decide to do homeschooling?
Like many other parents, I will be happier to know, as a parent, that I am the number one influencer in my children’s lives. I want to be an influencer in many ways, including general social manners, religious beliefs, and other critical personal beliefs, at least until such time that they had grown enough to make their own respective choices.
Homeschooling gives me a chance, as a parent, to determine what and how to teach my kids.
Homeschooling gives me a chance, as a parent, to determine what and how to teach my kids. It also gives me the freedom to introduce my kids to different lessons at a convenient time specified by myself while being cognisant of my children’s learning pace. Lastly, when you homeschool, you can study anywhere as you are not bound by the four walls of a classroom.
How has Impaq helped you in your journey?
Impaq assisted me greatly. It could have easily been a very tough journey had it not been for Impaq. It is one thing to have the desire to homeschool your kids and picture all the advantages thereof. However, it is different to break everything down accordingly and practically (in terms of lesson materials and facilitator’s guides) for each grade. I, therefore, genuinely appreciate Impaq in this regard.
Are you a full-time homeschool dad?
No, I am also working. It would be nice to homeschool full time, but at the moment, I still need to work to secure an income to cover other household expenses.
What do you like most about homeschooling?
Amongst many things, the comfort of knowing that my kids are taught what I believe is the relevant stuff. I have also observed that homeschooling creates a space for the parent (as the teacher) to give their full attention to the child. For example, I may be introducing a new topic, but before I could expand on it, each child will start asking some related questions to which I must respond. At the end of the lesson, the children have learned or gained more than just the expected outcome. Interesting enough, my children hardly ever seem to forget whatever answer I had given to their questions.
What do you find most challenging about homeschooling?
Nothing much, except in the beginning when there were moments of doubt around the decision to homeschool. Besides whether homeschooling was the best choice for my kids, there was also the question of whether my wife, Thandazile, and I would be capable enough to homeschool since we have not been teachers before.
I may further say that balancing teaching and parenting in the same house is sometimes difficult. It has been a battle between being a dad and being a teacher, while the latter would sometimes face being taken advantage of because ‘he is our daddy’. I had to inject that discipline, and the positive results showed up.
What is the main difference between homeschooling and traditional schooling?
There could be many differences between the two. However, the interesting one for me is that homeschooling brings about and enforces that special togetherness as a family.
Another main difference is, of course, the curriculum. As we are homeschooling our kids, I can incorporate my own knowledge and experience into the lessons. The curriculum, to some significant extent, benefits my children’s interests and passions.
Any tips for other homeschool dads?
- Don’t pressure yourself (or your kids)
Don’t put yourself or your children under pressure when homeschooling. There is enough time for your children to complete all the grades at their own pace. For the smaller kids, like Grade 1 or 2, reading seems to benefit children immensely. I encourage other dads to try reading with their children.
Also read: The love for reading starts early
- Start today
The whole idea of homeschooling may not look very easy until you make the decision and begin doing it. Homeschooling is truly the best path for my family, and I think it can also work well for other families.
- Do your research
Remember that kids are way smarter than we may assume as parents. For this reason, it is essential that when your kids begin to ask questions related to any lesson, you should try to give the correct answer. If you are unsure about the answer, it is better to tell them that you will verify and answer them later.
- Know your rights
It is important for parents to ensure that they follow all the rules and regulations around homeschooling in the country.
- Ask for help
Lastly, parents should seek guidance and make use of Impaq in particular, as the institution has been there for some time, excelling in their great work that any homeschooling dad can unequivocally trust.