Coronavirus: How we’re coping with emergency homeschooling, ‘restless’ kids — Nigerian mums

FILE PHOTO: Nigerian pupils writing National Common Entrance examination used to illustrate homeschooling {Photo: NAN}
FILE PHOTO: Nigerian pupils writing National Common Entrance examination {Photo: NAN}

Mums across the world are currently grappling with the demands of homeschooling their kids as schools have closed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Homeschooling refers to the education of a child at home either by a parent or a tutor. Before now, homeschooling was not widely practiced in Nigeria but today, the reverse appears to be the case no thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak.

As concerns about the pandemic continue to rise along with a mounting number of confirmed cases in Nigeria and other parts of the world, mums in countries badly hit by the pandemic, have taken to social media to lament their new reality.

Recently, an Israeli mom, Shiri Kenigsberg LeviOne’s rant about homeschooling her kids amid the coronavirus outbreak went viral.

Levione, who is a mum-of-4 explained that she only has two computers and everyone is fighting over them.

Her Instagram video was reposted by celebrities like Sharon Stone and was even translated into Dutch and Chinese.

Back here in Lagos State, some mums appear to be feeling the brunt of the emergency homeschooling. On mum communities on Instagram and Facebook, the feedback isn’t different from that of other mums in other countries.

Schools shut down

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria, more Nigerian states have shut schools as part of preventive measures.

Anambra, Niger, Benue Lagos, and Enugu are the latest states to shut down schools.

The Lagos State Government ordered the closing down of all public and private schools from Monday, March 23, 2020.

As the number of infected persons rises, the campaign to remain indoors has become intense.

PREMIUM TIMES spoke with some Nigerian mothers on the had them speak about the challenges they face with the kids out of school and their fear of the pandemic.

Their responses are captured below:

Dara Aderoju (Entrepreneur)

The children are a whole lot more playful than if they were in school and they eat quite more often right now. They turn the whole house upsidedown and they are being generally restless. That’s the major challenge. Right now, I just finished beating my children, made them have their birth and they are sleeping right now. I can now concentrate on doing other chores.

Thoughts on coronavirus?

I’m really trusting God that this thing will soon become a thing of the past in Nigeria and in the world. It’s dreadful. We do not have the facility to combat this virus in Nigeria. I want to encourage people to take all precautions and just stay at home. It looks as though the world has come to an end already. People are dying every day. It’s dreadful. China, Italy and the UK have more sophisticated medical equipment and trained professionals to fight the virus yet they have not been able to, how much more Nigeria? The only way I think we can combat this virus is for everything to be shutdown.

Monsurat Ibrahim (Entrepreneur)

This emergency stay-at-home is quite different from the normal holiday period when there is no fear of any virus as we have now. The difference is that we can’t give them the freedom to go outside and play with the neighbours, they can’t go for extra coaching because it’s not a normal holiday and they have to stay indoors. They are just all over the place. I can’t have a normal rest. I have to attend to their needs and you know when you have more than one child, they want your attention at the same time. They also eat more now.

Thoughts on Coronavirus?

My fear about COVID’19 is the what-ifs? What if we are unable to curtail it? What if it takes longer than planned? What if we exhaust the provisions we have at home now before the pandemic ends? What if we no longer have money? We can’t even go to the market to spend the money. It’s really scary.

Theresa Anozie (Vehicle spareparts trader)

The children are just running around and eating more than they used to. I’m not sure I can continue to bear these running around and making me shout always. We can’t send them out for summer lessons, we have to keep them at home with us. They make me spend more. After eating, they want to buy all sorts of things. We can’t even send them out to play because we don’t know who is carrying what virus around.

Prayers alone will not solve this. We still pray but we also need to follow all instructions given to us to stop the spread of this virus. Some of us that are business people can’t even go to our shops. If this thing persists, what are we going to be eating? So we need to work together and make sure this thing passes quickly.

Oyinyola Adebayo (Fashion Designer)

I’m not really bothered about my children disturbing me but I’m worried about their exams and if it will be easy for them to fall back in the system when they resume. Then they eat too much and always want to buy something. The expenses are much.

Thoughts on Coronavirus?

I’m really afraid of this virus. I am a trader. I meet and talk to a lot of people always. I collect money from them. Will I keep rubbing hand sanitizer after each exchange? Even the hand sanitizer is now expensive. The best thing is for the government to find a lasting solution to this thing.

Sola Adebogun (Entrepreneur)

My daughter is grown. She’s a teenager so I have no issue with her at home. Just that I hope this passes quickly so that she and other children can go back to school.

I fear that Nigeria’s situation should not be like that of Italy. I hope it doesn’t get worse. I hope we don’t have to lock down the country and starve to death even before the virus reaches us.

Tinu Alabi (Nurse)

The challenges are the usual ones we face when they are on holiday. However, the complexity of this current situation is that they are permanently at home and can’t be allowed to engage in just any activity. They can’t visit friends, event centres, Arabic classes or even home lessons. So it is 24 hours of shouting, screaming, warning, and sometimes caning every day. It is tough and difficult, especially for mothers.

Nursing mothers have more worries because unlike before when babies can be handed to friends, visitors, and relatives to play with, one has to shoulder such responsibilities wholly this time.

The situation has offered more work than ever for mothers. Remember, not all mothers have the luxury of being home permanently with these kids at this time, those on essential duties are in for serious stress.

Thoughts on Coronavirus

It is a global challenge, and just like anyone, we are afraid that it could be contracted anywhere. While we will continue to observe all the cautionary measures we must also note that enlightenment isn’t as high as expected in Nigeria and the capacity of our health system to curtail this is doubtful. So in situations like this, even though God will not come down from heaven to help us, we still have to seek His mercy to protect us against a disease that knows no age, colour, status or gender.



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