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Boy, 13, who got top GCSE grades in the pandemic thanks to mum’s homeschooling and ‘inspiration’ from Stormzy Malachi achieved 9s in his GCSEs and now has ambitions to study at Cambridge

 

A 13-year-old boy from West London achieved top grades in his GCSEs during the pandemic, thanks to inventive homeschooling from his mum.

Malachi Balusa, from Earls Court, passed five of his GCSEs during lockdown after his mum, Falone, took it upon herself to learn the curriculum and homeschool him.



Malachi, 13, and his mum Falone, 29, found learning together to be a good bonding exercise

A 13-year-old boy from West London achieved top grades in his GCSEs during the pandemic, thanks to inventive homeschooling from his mum.

Malachi Balusa, from Earls Court, passed five of his GCSEs during lockdown after his mum, Falone, took it upon herself to learn the curriculum and homeschool him.

Falone, 29, a project manager and business consultant, told MyLondon the “keep busy” worksheets sent out by teachers were “insufficient”, leaving her no choice but to find creative ways to teach Malachi information herself.

Malachi now has ambitions to go to Cambridge University

“I was a teen mum myself,” Falone said. “I had Malachi when I was supposed to be doing my GCSEs.

“I’ve had my own difficulties and I was eager to prove everybody wrong.”

Falone recalled passing her GCSEs while pregnant with Malachi and said the pandemic forced her “back into that mode” of self-study.

“It was really tricky at first because the lockdown was unexpected for everybody,” she said. “It was just – ‘keep your kids at home’.”

Malachi was sent worksheets to go through while schools were closed, but Falone didn’t want the pandemic to affect her son’s learning, so she began teaching herself GCSE subjects – from Biology to English.

“Financially it was challenging,” she explained. “But I was able to weave myself around it by using government websites, BBC bitesize, YouTube and second-hand books from eBay.”

The pair would often sit down together and work through subjects, “keeping it as interactive as possible, so it wasn’t just sitting down and reading books.”

Falone said she enjoyed the experience, particularly as it served as a bonding exercise for her and her son.

“It was quite fun actually, tapping back into it,” she said. “You forget a lot of these things as you grow older and it felt easier to learn the second time around.

“I’m not sure if it’s because of my age that it was easier, but it wasn’t that bad. It was almost like we were bonding.”

Falone said she would try and incorporate her son’s interest in architecture in their time spent studying together, such as using algebra to design a kitchen.

“He was very open to it in the end. We were learning together, watching videos and trying to get creative,” she said.

With schools reopening in September, Falone said parents need to involve themselves more in their children’s learning.

“A lot of parents leave the education of their children in the hands of the government. There aren’t enough parents going out of their way to make sure their children are on track,” she said.

As for what advice she would give parents going forward, she said: “Always remember that the responsibility is primarily yours.

“You’re there to work hand in hand with the teachers – you have to take time out to move forward your child’s understanding.

“A lot of parents want to support their kids but they only do it at face value. School is only from 9 to 3 on average and there’s a timeframe in which a teacher can teach – maybe an hour lesson – but it doesn’t guarantee that the child has understood.

“Now parents can get involved with courses. It’s all within their ability to do so.”

Falone said she will continue to support Malachi’s learning from home and her son is now looking towards his A-Levels and beyond – he even has ambitions to study architecture at Cambridge.

Falone said: “He’s been inspired by the Stormzy scholarship. When he sees representation that matters sometimes.”

source: https://www.mylondon.news/news/west-london-news/west-london-boy-13-achieved-21358374?fbclid=IwAR1U4yhLebguDaZzZKyP-Irl3SXITUttCsU_AmLkltsdsjvGQ8coZzlbxWo

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