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Eziaha Bolaji-Olojo: Dear Stay-At-Home Mum, Summer School is Okay

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This was the thought that kept dropping in my head as I returned from dropping my 3-year-old son off on his first day at summer school.

It was a tongue-in-cheek thought, seeing as the last summer holiday, I was low-key judging any mom dropping off her kids at summer school, especially one who is a stay-at-home mom.

At this moment, let me apologise. I am joining the bandwagon calling this ‘summer school’ in a country where the rain has been pouring.

It’s hardly summer around here, but for the purpose of uniformity, let’s go with summer school. I apologise if this offends you.

Ok, where were we? Ah, yes, my low-key judging.

I have always thought that summer school was for moms who are too busy to spend time with their kids, more interested in chasing the money. So as a mom, especially a stay-at-home mum-preneur, I was pretty much resolved to not even consider it.

This holiday though, I considered it here and there, and even looked at the newsletter my son’s school gave me at the graduation party. At first, I murdered the thought. Summer school was going to run from 9 to 1:30 PM and there would be no bus services. Hey, if they wasn’t willing to keep my kids till 4 PM, or at least 3 PM, then no dice.

In my head, I was looking for an escape for say 3 days a week (or more). I have a second baby, and various other responsibilities at home. I soon repented of that “bad mom” belief and decided we would be home together and play all summer.

Then I had this conversation that got me quiet (a miracle because I talk a lot) and then thinking. I rang one of my closest friends and as we gisted about this and that, she mentioned that her kids were starting summer school the following week. I paused. Summer school? She was a stay at home mom, and even though she had two boys, she also had a live-in help. So why summer school? I promise, I wasn’t judging. I just wanted to know why.

And she said something like, ‘Oh, because if they stay at home, all they will do is play, and I would love for them to learn some craft and stuff like that, which I’m unable to teach them at home by myself. Plus, I am studying for a professional exam and I could do with that quiet time too.

Wait.

My friend just schooled me.

At that moment, I had a whole new perspective on summer school. It hit me. I needed summer school for my son too. This time, not just a place to dump him, but a place where he could learn beyond school work.

Frankly, I did worry about how to fill his holiday with activities. I was intentional about playing with him indoors and outdoors, and also revising his school work with him daily, so he doesn’t play away all he had learned. I must admit though that his screen time (TV and phone) was also getting longer than I would have loved, just so that I could keep him occupied. I was happy to consider summer school since we were not going to summer ‘in the abroad’.

Armed with this new knowledge and objective, I hit the streets for some school research. I was looking for one within my estate that offered a healthy mix of academics (yes, I still wanted him to learn, because you can’t just play for 2 months), fun and handiwork. I particularly didn’t want his school, even though I loved his school and all they were offering; I wanted a change of environment. Several schools later, I found one.

It was really close to home. They ran four days a week, from 9 to 2 PM. Two of those days were given to handiwork and crafts and the other two to academics.

They actually had a summer timetable of extra-curricular activities which I found really impressive. And they weren’t selling me a story. They had a WhatsApp group for parents and every day, they sent pictures of what your kids were up to and what they had made. I saw the evidence and I was sold.

I saw kids actually engaged in supervised but serious play, something every boy needs. Bonus point was that my spirit immediately accepted the class teacher and the admin staff who talked to me and took me around.

This whole holiday experience, for me, sounds like an investment and beats sitting at home and playing. It just works. My son doesn’t feel like he is going to school during the holiday, and when he’s back, he takes his bath and rests. I spend quality time with him revising and practising what he learned during the day, and screen time has reduced. Plus, I would have also achieved something else that day.

As a mom, some of my best ‘role-modelling’ will come from my children seeing me be more than mommy, and in activities that have nothing to do with them. Plus, if I am not as productive as I should be, at the end of the day, I most likely would be upset and frustrated and may actually take it out on him and everyone around me.

Now, some moms may actually have activities lined up for their kids at home that would allow the summer holidays be properly invested, but I don’t. Neither does my friend, hence our looking outside the home for help.

If summer school is an option, take it, and without guilt too. But, be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons, whatever your right reasons are. I heard a mom say on the day that I was making enquiries, that her kid was not doing well academically and so she wanted more attention to be spent on her academics as opposed to play. Her purpose for summer school is different than mine, but I am not allowed to judge her.

Some moms actually request longer hours and five  days a week of summer school, but I swallow my opinions and thoughts on that, because I don’t know their stories or reasons. Not everyone doing summer school has a mindset like I had earlier, where I just wanted to dump my kid off somewhere.

My neighbour, she too a stay-at-home mom, takes her only daughter to summer school. I don’t know why, but I am too busy being a faithful member of the ‘Mind Your Business’ ministry to bother.

As a stay-at-home mom, you may still have a valid reason for sending your kids off. Settle that with your conscience, and find a school that works for you.

I made that decision and we (my son, my help, my husband, my at-home business, and my conscience) are all the better for it.

Eziaha Bolaji-Olojo (CoachE’) is a Food and Fitness Coach and CEO at CoachE’Squad Ltd, a thriving home-based business where she serves Jesus and Fitness to the world. Asides helping women live optimized lives through a healthy food and fitness routine, she runs a personal Faith-based blog www.eziaha.com where she chronicles her Christian walk, and holds regular meetings called POWWOW with E’ for Stay at home moms.She is a First-Class Graduate of Sociology, holds a UK degree in Personal Nutrition and a Pre-natal and Postnatal Fitness Specialist Certification endorsed by the American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA). She is also an Alumnus of Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA). Above all these, she is a proud wife and mom to two boys and takes that assignment very seriously. She is a product of many teachers and mentors, constantly going for knowledge, regularly pours into mentoring younger folks, loves stir-fry eggs and home-made zobo, and is a proud member of Daystar Christian Centre.Eziaha can be found on Instagram @stayhomemoms.ng and on Twitter as @eziahaa, and you can email her on [email protected]

7 Comments

  1. Joyful

    August 8, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I enjoyed reading this! It gives a new perspective to summer schooling and also some good tips for school owners.

  2. Star

    August 8, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    Being a stay at home mom basically is to spend more time with family. I personaly would encourage mothers to try their best to work from home thats if its possible, this is because raising a child is more than food, clothes school fees, helping with their assignment,having fun, also because lots of children in this present time are EMOTIONALY and PSYCHOLOGICALLY abandoned by their parents even the STAY AT HOME MOMS but most importantly getting to build their minds in the right direction, helping them discover themselves early enough, also teaching them to know the importance of family and building bonds with their siblings all these and more you can never achieve if you dont create time for them. Mothers do you know your child’s best subject and why? How does he handle bullying? Do you even know when your child is bullied? Summer schools are good but we should create ample time to teach other things knowing from morning to noon is when a childs brain is more receptive and teacher cannot take the place of parents in certain things. These should be the aim of STAYING AT HOME TO BE A MOM.

  3. Msreeny

    August 8, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    @STAR Thank you!! I was just thinking of same thing that you typed. The writer encourages stay-at-home moms to choose the summer school option but then low-key disses the stay-at-home mom that will put their child in summer school 5 days a week and then quickly adds the disclaimer that she doesn’t know their story. I would like to think that being a stay-at-home mom is a job description and as with all jobs, you can seek for help when needed. I don’t however think that you should relinquish your job entirely because you are deficient in an aspect. Learn the essentials to improve yourself in that aspect and then take on the job. If you cannot organise stuff like they do at summer school or keep the kids engaged, LEARN and APPLY at HOME. Now that doesn”t mean that your face is all they see and they won’t get to appreciate you. There are play dates and all what not to get them interacting with other kids.

    • barbie

      August 8, 2018 at 11:38 pm

      I’m became stay at home mom by choice because i feel no one can take care of my kids like i do and my spouse is cool with it and makes sure we are taken care of also i was able to channel my savings into a few investments ,,but i find that esp on some blogs there is a lot of venom and condescending comments towards women who choose to do this ..for me its a full time job and hardly any breaks sunday to sunday i mean

  4. Star

    August 8, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Wowwuu nice comment msreeny, mothers should learn to be creative with their kids summer hols this in turn will afford them some time to rejuvenate, like you suggested PLAYDATES nice with select responsible families like the westerners do but the problem with playdates in nigeria ehhh dont know if it can work here except if you have responsible neighbours or your child has friends from responsible homes. One can plan this with parents you are familiar and comfortable with, schedule and decide what the children would be doing or would love doing even as they learn and also rotate the dates, just thinking. What about hiring a tutor? Would that be too boring for a PRE-SCHOOLER? Well for me before summer i believe every mother should have prepared their minds and schedule to spend quality time with their babies and it shouldn’t be relegated.

  5. Adenike

    August 9, 2018 at 10:04 am

    There’s so much judgement everywhere…and I sometimes feel that judging people is a way to make us feel better about our own inadequacies! We can’t have everything all figured out- learn and mind your business really! Do what works best for your home and kids instead of trying to fulfil every textbook definition of how to be a good WORKING mom/STAY AT HOME mom, as if the textbook was not written by another human who’s imperfect. Every home, just like every marriage has its nuances and the sooner you do you, the better for you and yours! All that matters is that your home is peaceful, and everyone is happy. How you achieve it, is really up to you. We cannot all have the same route to success! That’s what I wish humanity will understand.

  6. LL

    August 9, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    My 4 year old is on holiday. She plays and watches TV most times. Sometimes she practices words and figures with books or apps. But it’s mostly TV, food, play or sleep I hang with her and get my work done from home. My friends have their kids in summer school. They’re learning a lot there. Good for all of us. Can we all just do what works for us?

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