Wednesday 19 February, 2020

Homeschooling Association holds Curriculum Fair

Frustrated by the failings of the education system, more and more people in Trinidad and Tobago are choosing to homeschool their children.

While she didn’t have ready figures, Annmarie Mitchel, one of the founders of the Homeschool Association of Trinidad and Tobago (HATT), said they have noticed an increase in calls from people enquiring about homes schooling, registering as much as four to five calls a day.

“There are several things happening. The very real thing is that we have a teacher in front of 20 to 30 children so it is not personalised and it is difficult for the teachers. Also if we have children with developmental gaps in our education system they aren’t able to manage,” she said, offering up some of the reasons why parents prefer to homeschool.

Making the decision to homeschool is not always an easy one. First, there has to be an understanding of what homeschooling is.

Annmarie explained that it is parent-directed education as opposed to simply sending the child to classes which is basically private classes. She said even busy working parents can homeschool by hiring a tutor who follows a curriculum set by the parents.

Then there is the matter of what to teach your child.

Ann Marie explained that there are different curricula available for homeschooling and online resources to assist as well.

All of that information will be available today at HATT”s curriculum fair which will be held at Irie Elephant, Maraval.

“We want to help parents and guardians who are currently homes schooling or interested to do a few things. People like to see actual resources and curricula on display and be able to be able to interact with parents actually using it to see what works. We wanted parents to know you can start with online resources that are free as some do have concerns about cost. There are people who use a mixture of things including local curriculum.  We also want to be able to give people the opportunity to become a member of HATT,” she said.

Annmarie said HATT was established to give informational support to families and they seek to provide a system to encourage support, train people in parent-directed home education.

HATT was also set up to provide opportunities for homes schooling families to network with each other which helps children to socialise as well with their peers.

“I am a part of two weekly homeschooling groups, we meet as mothers and do developmental activities for the mothers and children. We look at the skills we want them to develop in life and engage in activities geared toward that,” she said.

“I started another group of my own in 2016 to help other families not plugged into a group. We encourage people to get together with other families because you need support.”

She said she decided to homeschool her children because she wanted them to lead a more all rounded life.

“I wanted them to know the world, to not grow up in a bubble. It is helping them to interact with family in a deeper more meaningful way. If there is more of an emphasis on family in those developmental years, it helps,” she said.

If you are interested in homeschooling or are a homeschooler with questions, head down to Irie Elephant, 8 Rookery Nook, Maraval, from 4 to 7 pm.

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