Halle Berry on homeschooling: ‘they’re really just not learning anything and it’s hard’


I’m enjoying how open the celebrities are being during lockdown. The last time we checked in with Halle Berry, during her interview on The Tonight Show, she admitted that her youngest child, son Maceo, 6, has been bouncing off the walls and almost needed a couple of trips to the hospital. She also said that her daughter Nahla, 12, insisted she could do her own hair and that it got so matted after their daily swimming sessions that Halle had to shave it! It’s unclear whether Halle shaved Nahla’s entire head or just the matted part in the back, but either way that’s got to be devastating to Nahla. In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Halle said that her kids are having a hard time with homeschooling and that Maceo is unable to focus without a peer group there. You can watch the video below, and here’s what she said.

“It’s a nightmare for me. It’s a nightmare,” Berry confessed to ET’s Kevin Frazier. “This is like a wash of a semester; they’re really just not learning anything and it’s hard. I have a 6-year-old, and what I learned is that when 6-year-olds see other 6-year-olds do things, then they do things. Like, they sit and they eat because there’s 25 other ones doing it. They stay at their desks and color because there’s 25 other ones doing it.”

“At home, there’s not 25 other ones doing it. So, to get them to focus and realize they’re at home but yet they’re at school, it’s really been a challenge,” she continued. “But I have enjoyed having all this extra time with them. We have been making good use of the time when they’re not in school. When I’m not cracking the whip for school, we do have a lot of family time, story time and bonding time that we don’t often get to have, so there is the silver lining.”

Berry has been posting highlights of some of the laughs she’s shared with her kids while staying at home… One particular video that has gotten a lot of attention shows her son walking up the stairs in a pair of her high-heeled boots.

“That’s what you gotta do in these times! You gotta find the fun, and he’s a class clown,” she joked. “I might have to post some of the other stuff he does.”

[From ET Online]

I asked on Twitter if first graders (although Maceo could be in kindergarten) were getting homework and the consensus from Americans was that it’s about an hour a day plus one Zoom session a week, although some have as many as three Zoom sessions a day! I bet that’s both helpful as a distraction and hard to keep up with. As I mention in all these homeschooling stories, my heart goes out to the parents with young kids at home. I’m so lucky to have a 15-year-old who is self motivated in school. Plus I have no clue how to teach any of his subjects except English. Halle is dealing with two kids at very different levels academically. I really liked what she said about the silver lining being all the extra time with her kids though. That’s a special part of this extended time at home. I’m working on being present and not letting minor annoyances get to me, which can be tough some days.

Also, Halle is gorgeous without makeup!

Here’s that video:

Halle took part in that Boss Bitch Fight that so many other celebrity women participated in, including Cameron Diaz, Florence Pugh, Scarlett Johansson, Rosario Dawson, Lucy Lawless, Zoe Saldana, Thandie Newton and more. You can see the full list of participants here. It was organized by veteran stuntwoman Zoe Bell. I like the look into the celebrity gyms and backyards. Some of the sequences are clever, like when they finish drinks and put down snacks before throwing a punch.

Halle is also donating her time to a UFC prize giveaway, with all profits to charity. It includes watching a match with her in a VIP booth and having dinner with her afterwards. I don’t care about MMA fighting at all, but this made me want to enter.

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28 Responses to “Halle Berry on homeschooling: ‘they’re really just not learning anything and it’s hard’”

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  1. Jekelly says:

    My kindergartener has about an hour of homework a day and four zoom meetings a week. It’s been so hard trying to home school him while entertaining a toddler. I really do feel like he’s not learning much, but I am trying.

  2. Chica1971 says:

    Work in education and I’ve never had so many parents say thanks. This is at the high school level.I think on some level parents thought it would be easy to teach their kids because they know them best and teachers are lazy because they leave at 3pm (fantasy) and get summers off. Parents don’t realize that the school version of their kids are different than the home version. It takes time and skills to teach. In addition, the isolation and limited physical interactions is extremely difficult and traumatic. Unfortunately, I don’t see any change before next year.

    • SomeChick says:

      Hey, Chica1971, I’m curious if you think they will start up school in September? Or do you anticipate another year of this?

      As an you are an education professional, I’d really appreciate your perspective.

      My friends with kids are going nuts. The kids are also kinda going nuts. Even with two adults, it is still a handful. And of course the kids miss their friends. Hopefully social distancing will work and we can figure out how to do school safely. I hope so!

      • Chica1971 says:

        This will extend to at least December. District is quietly advancing three tracks.. online start (with in person for special groups) and all face to face next year with extended school year

        Busing is headache because you can’t clean them after each run.
        Even though my school is overcrowded, some rooms do not allow for social distancing not with the entire class of 30+. You forget that there are two teachers in SPED and ESL rooms too. What about CatB students who don’t understand distancing with disabilities that requires a support person with them at all times?. Eating in science classes are out and others too. Loss of teaching staff who have certain diseases etc.
        Absent of mass testing there is no way to put staff, parents and teachers at ease. Teaching is a contact profession!
        Last, the easing of lockdown and means that travel will increase, causing more infections and dragging this mess into August.

    • Dazed and confused says:

      Same same! The attitude about teachers just sitting around eating bon bons has been escalating since the 90s. There is typically some lip service such as, “thank you for all you do” but it has felt empty for decades. Particularly as we are treated less and less like professionals.

    • Desdemona says:

      High school teacher here!! Maybe the attitude towards us will change and people will realize it’s difficult teaching… One can only hope… But yes,many parents are thanking us…
      Let’s see what the future holds…

    • Azul says:

      My parents were teachers and I saw how much they cared. When my daughter was in kindergarden I wrote a letter to her incredible teacher, thanking for her effort. I included 2 tickets to the Lion King. I never did something like that again.

  3. Aang says:

    Anything a kindergartner needs to know can be learned through play. I’m a teacher and was so disillusioned by public, and the private schools that mimic them, I decided to homeschool my kids. It’s the isolation that’s making this so hard. Good homeschooling is done in a community and the kids have access to opportunities outside the home with masters and experts in various fields. Good homeschooling is more of a curated educational experience than it is a kid and a parent with some books at home.

    • Ali says:

      This.

      What we are being asked to do, continue following a classroom based lesson plan at home in isolation, is not homeschooling.

      • Jennifer says:

        Right. I don’t think school via Zoom is working well for the teachers or the students. Maybe she just phrased it poorly but to say her kids aren’t learning anything is odd. Children learn all the time. She has the means to give them a ton of books, maps, flashcards, and educational games. It doesn’t have to come from a syllabus to still count as learning.

    • Mich says:

      I homeschooled for two years and it was both great and hard. A lot of outside the house activities were built in, including volunteering two days a week, outings to museums, sea scouts, gymnastics, drama classes, etc.

      I cannot imagine doing it with the restricted realities parents are currently facing.

  4. Lucy2 says:

    She is so pretty without makeup and looks so young!
    I watched that stunt thing twice, and it wasn’t until I saw a still shot that I realized which one was Scarlett.

  5. Flowerpot says:

    She hit the nail on the head about kids behaving better in a group. I don’t think my kids are getting a lot out of virtual learning either. One is special ed and it’s even tougher. PT, OT and Speech are all given virtually and it’s a bit of a rodeo because my son isn’t into it. We had a school levy recently for operating costs (mostly salaries) and it passed big. Teachers are amazing and I suck at this

    • Desdemona says:

      Actually, I think kids behave worst in groups but learn better though…

    • ab says:

      I feel you, my kid has autism and this all-online-everything situation is not working, like at all. We’re getting hours of online speech, OT, ABA, and private instruction from her teacher and assistant teacher each week, but it feels like the quality of these sessions is degrading by the day as my kid is just more and more not into it. She is basically an angel child at school, in that environment with her classmates and teachers, but her behavior home is a different story! It doesn’t help that I apparently have zero patience for teaching a kid who needs constant support and guidance while I’m also dealing with a toddler who is bouncing off the walls.

      • Flowerpot says:

        Hey AB – totally get you. My special ed kiddo is autistic too and nonverbal. No behavioral problems either at school. Total angel. However at home he’s whining and reluctantly participating. I have been kinda hard on myself because I really suck at the PT and OT with him. Someone mentioned that these teachers and therapists go to school for years and years to do what they do. No wonder I’m not as good. Hang in there!

      • Khl says:

        Same here AB – my teen has autism, ADHD and learning disabilities. Goes to an awesome special ed school with tons of support. We cannot replicate at home, even with social work and therapy Zooms most days of the week. It’s been really hard and I cringe when I think about what he is losing socially, emotionally and educationally.

      • ab says:

        @Flowerpot and @Khl: Fist bumps of support to both of you! (from 6 ft away … air fist bumps?) It’s hard out here!

  6. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    I’ve always placed my kids’ teachers on pedestals. I do have friends that homeschool, and I have to bite my tongue if conversation veers toward education. They can be insufferable. The whole public school vs homeschool debate is….well I’ve had enough over these many years. If you homeschool your kids, they’re thriving, you’re thriving, and your perfect family unit is… perfect, yay!

    The rest of us have different ideas about classroom instruction, social skills and extracurricular activities. Yes, it’s slower, but listening to peers answer questions, grade competing, learning how to maneuver sticky situations, getting into trouble and/or not getting into trouble, knowing when to shut the frak up, pride, accomplishment, embarrassment, nervousness, stress, anticipation… it’s all part of a journey which I personally feel the need to hang on. And school faculty are part of that journey. In fact, they’re the captains, the pilots and engineers tasked with keeping the collective on path while simultaneously seeing, identifying and managing each individual student’s needs on many levels. They’re superheroes.

    Corralling kids at any age is a lesson in patience. To have to supplement supply costs, meet student’s needs and be the best teacher every day to ungrateful families is a huge thorn in my side. Shame on arrogant asshats. I couldn’t do it. And if I could, I wouldn’t want to. I don’t have a filter. Filters ALONE deserve commendation. So unless you manage dozens of small people every day, week, month, teach them and make sure they’re learning, having to be parents, friends, confidants, counselors, therapists, suppliers, security, policeman, WITHOUT pissing anyone off, or hugging when they should have just shook a hand, or said something wrong or having to sit through an irate parent’s tirade, unless you’re confronted with all of this every day, sit the frak down and shut the frak up.

    I have one 14yo at home now. I’m thinking about dropping him off at the empty campus to sit alone outside and get his freaking work done. Or confiscating his giant water gun and shooting off a couple of rounds every 15 minutes.

    • Amelie says:

      Some kids though really don’t do well in a traditional school environment though. I side eye parents who do it for religious reasons (like the Duggars!) because they don’t want their kids learning about sex or evolution in schools or being exposed to “bad influences.” (Newsflash: school is not the only environment kids are exposed to negative influences!) But some kids really struggle socially, are being bullied with the school turning a blind eye to the behavior, or just aren’t getting the support they need (not all schools have SPED teachers depending on the district. In fact I went to a private school for 9 years where a friend was held back because she had learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia, in elementary school. The school did not offer her extra support and she was pulled out of the school and sent to public school where they actually had teachers to help her). My first instinct would be to not homeschool my kids if I had any but I might have to rethink things if my kid was really struggling academically or socially.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Obviously, and absolutely, if something isn’t working, changes are in order. I’d never advocate a suck-it-up mentality across the board. And this is but another area good teachers need recognition. When astute educators spot lags in the system and step up, there really is no way to properly thank them. Better salaries?

  7. Amelie says:

    I feel for all parents dealing with small kids and online school PLUS trying to hold down a full time job. I can’t imagine having to corral toddlers with short attention spans who really do thrive more in group settings. All age groups are suffering though, not just toddlers. But Halle can afford to be home all the time and honestly what else does she have going on? No actors right now are working on any projects. I get it that it’s hard to constantly be trying to engage a toddler but at least Nala is mostly self-sufficient and can entertain herself. She has my limited sympathy. Also where are her kids’ fathers? I realize custody issues for split couples are complex due to the quarantine issues but I imagine she’d be so glad to give her son to his dad for a few days at a time if she needs a break.

  8. SM says:

    On a personal level, I feel so much like her. I have a pre schooler and it is extremely difficult to home teach him, as kids of that age are sort of in between the ordered learning in scholl and the playful phrase of learning through play. And yes, having peer pressure of 12 kids of the same age doing the same thing is of significant help in making a child do whatever needs to be done. In pre school for example he eats everything. Because he sees others eat whatever they are given. At home it is the constant struggle. Yet despite all that, the pressure of work from home with kids, I also think that personally the quarantine allowed me to spend to much time with my son at such a significant phrase of his life, when he still need and adores me and I am sort of enough and he is not yet fully immersed in the world of friends and cool friends stuff when parents just become uncool by default.

  9. Paramita says:

    Home schooling is global. Here, in Dubai, kids are on Zoom school 5 days a week, from 8 am to 2 pm. And they have homework for the evenings too. It’s a question of discipline on the part of the children and the parents to go along with it.
    That being said, schools should tailor alternate learning plans for special needs kids to make it easier.
    But as parents, maybe it’s time for us to reduce the mindless TV and Xbox and make a routine. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see exactly how school is conducted. If Halle’s kids aren’t learning – maybe she needs to focus on that more.
    FYI – I have a 6 year old. And his teachers are powering through Math, English, Arabic, French and Science. I’m amazed at how much efforts they are taking and am grateful for them every day.

  10. Jana says:

    Halle Berry is one of the few women alive who actually look better with a pixie cut; it’s almost like the hair takes away from her gorgeous facial features. Same with Winona Ryder.

    • Tina says:

      Its true…long hair makes her look normal and boring….still pretty but not stunning.

  11. Tina says:

    You think this lock down is bad…you haven’t seen anything yet. Hold on to your masks folks, because we’re in for a bumpy ride.