At home with the Wakefields

Posted on 24 June 2020

At home with the Wakefields

Introducing the Wakefields, from left at back Elijah, 9, and Zeko, 6. From left in the middle are Mordecai, 10, Isobella, 4, dad Hamiora, mum Tamrah, Nehemiah, 16 months, Taila, 18 and in front is Benji, 8.

Home schooling is a topic close to the hearts of the tight-knit Wakefield whānau. This amazing family of nine generously took some time to share their tips for learning at home. 

Seven weeks with the tamariki at home, unscheduled, while also juggling lockdown life and mahi. For many it was a trying time, but for Hamiora and Tamrah Wakefield and their seven tamariki it was largely business as usual. This inspiring couple from Levin has been home schooling for the past six years, and they are adamant they are better for it.

“We decided to home school our children because we wanted to be the ones to teach them, and to watch them learn and grow in all areas of their life,” says Tam. “We also realised this was a crucial time with our children that we would never be able to get back.”

Tam and Hamiora, who earlier this year took the chance to catch up with whānau at a Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō whakapapa gathering in Whanganui, say there are lots of benefits to home schooling from a parent’s point of view.

“Being the main source of input into our children’s lives, being the ones to see the fruits of their daily successes, the flexibility of being able to do school anywhere, anytime, and having more time to do the things that we love. The children came up with some benefits too. Zeko loves getting to do more stuff, like afternoons to play games, go to the beach, that sort of thing. Benji loves not having to leave home, Eli loves being taught to have good attitudes, and Mord loves – which we all agree is the greatest benefit of all – spending more time together as a family.”

Of course, it’s not all as easy as ā, ē, ī.

“I guess some of the challenges we face are things like – the children not ‘feeling like’ working, some days just don’t turn out like you planned. However, most of the challenges came initially – everything being new to us, thinking we didn’t know how to teach, all the organising, planning, writing up exemptions for the Ministry of Education. All of these though, we chose to, and continue to choose to work through and overcome.”

While we’re now back at Alert Level 1 and the tamariki are back at school now, whānau, if you do find yourself home schooling, here are Tam and Hamiora’s top tips...


The Wakefields’ top three tips

#1 Planning and organising

Plan out your days. Plan what each child needs to do and give them timetables – older ones are then able to organise themselves. Plan your day as a parent – when you’ll fit in the washing, meal-making, and other house chores around your schooling day. Plan meals. Plan everything! The more planning done in advance the easier the day, and even the week then becomes, causing you as a parent to be more prepared and also more relaxed.

#2 Patience and perseverance

You really are giving up your life when you choose to teach your children, and yes, it does take a lot of patience. However, as hard as things can seem at times, perseverance is also the key. Not ever giving up, or losing hope, getting help if you need, and remembering, the rewards of being the one to teach your children far outweigh any ‘struggles’.

#3 Quality time

It’s important to make sure you take the time to have QUALITY time with your spouse and also as a family. It is equally important to spend time on loving yourself – taking time to do things that you love and enjoy. Have a ‘work hard / play hard’ attitude.

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