An advisor to the Homeschool Association of Trinidad and Tobago(HATT) has noted the increase in parents reaching out for information relating to the homeschooling of their children.
In a recent telephone conversation with PSA Media, Fiona Rajkumar said that since the pandemic began more persons not only began following their Facebook page and YouTube channel but more persons also began contacting them to get information on how to get started.
She attributed this to some parents realising during the pandemic that homeschooling might be something they might want to do. She explained: “Because many parents have had to work closely with their children during the pandemic, there are those who prior to the pandemic would have wanted to homeschool their children, but felt a bit timid to take the steps to actually making the transition to homeschooling. So, we have found that there are some of these parents who have taken the initiative now because the circumstances have allowed them to work closely with their children and they have realised that this is what they want to do.”
However, she pointed out that what parents are doing presently with their children via online classes is not homeschooling. She said: “It is really the transference of the traditional system into the home. So it’s really trying to have school at home.”
Rajkumar noted that HATT was created about nine years ago and pointed out that before the pandemic most parents chose homeschooling for many different reasons. She said: “Children might have had learning challenges or they were gifted or advanced children. So, in certain ways, the mainstream education system was not meeting their needs. There were also children who might have had physical challenges as well or because of illness, they had to miss school. And so parents wanted to still work with their children despite the circumstances.”
She said the role HATT plays is to work alongside parents and offer advice such as how parents can interact with the ministry, how to send a letter letting the Ministry understand their intention to homeschool, giving parents advice on why they may choose to homeschool, or assist in curriculum choices among other things including parents who preferred to continue using the Education Ministry’s curriculum.
According to the HATT advisor, she noted that because of the pandemic more information is available from the Education Ministry’s website than what was available a few years ago.