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Sierra Leone: Children and parents benefit from studying together at home

The sun has already set and it’s quickly getting dark. Aminata Yillah and her family have just finished eating dinner. Her children are now busy getting books and study materials to join their mother for studies before they go to sleep.

Mrs. Yillah says studying together with her children is almost a daily routine and that she has seen numerous benefits since they started. She explains: “My children are doing well at school because I study together with them. After school, when they are at home, I teach them and we share ideas. I ask them questions and in turn they also ask me questions on things they don’t understand.”

Mrs. Yillah has six children and hails from Kambia district in the North West province of Sierra Leone. She says: “Studying with my children has been more than helpful to my family. My children are performing better than their colleagues in school because I always study with them at home and I am very proud of this.”

Mrs. Yillah says that studying with her children has also helped her family become aware of many important issues, including COVID-19 and the dangers of buying medicines in the streets instead of recognized pharmacies.

She explains: “The children taught me about COVID-19 because they learn this at their schools. I have learned how and why it is important to wash my hands with soap, how to take care of myself to avoid catching the disease, and how to observe social distance whenever I meet people.”

Mrs. Yillah says that, based on what they learned at school, her children advise her not to buy medicines on the street for headaches or body aches because they are fake. They advise her to buy from the hospital or a certified pharmacist at a pharmacy.

President Julius Maada Bio declared a state of emergency last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration imposed restrictions on movement and caused schools, colleges, and universities to close. Mrs. Yillah says that, with these restrictions, studying with her children was one of the best ways to help them continue learning.

She adds: “Apart from the educational radio programs that the government had put in place to support the pupils and [help] students learn, I discovered that studying with my children at home helped them a lot during the COVID-19 lockdown period.” She says that she had forgotten many things that she learned in school, but now is able to recall them because of studying with her children.

She adds that her children are now role models in their area and are encouraging other children to start studying with their parents or family members at home. 

She explains: “When you have a child, it is important to study with them as one way of encouraging them to perform well in school. My children are all doing well in school. I advise women that, even if you are not educated, encourage your kids by taking an interest to ask them what they learned at school at that particular day.”

Photo: A family in Liberia reads together

This resource is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. Distance Learning in Crisis is implemented in partnership with CODE, TALLE, and WE-CARE.