Your Family's Incredible Lifestyle Begins HERE – With Homeschooling
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Meet Homeschooling Kids: Makonnen David BlakeHannah

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Meet Homeschooling Kids:

Makonnen David BlakeHannah

Business Not Quite as Usual

Part 2 of 2

Part Two of Makonnen’s homeschooling story – including a “where is he now” update!

By Linda Dobson


Makonnen chats with Bob Marley's widow, Rita.

“It’s really all about my thirst for knowledge,” says Makonnen about homeschooling. “Whatever I’ve wanted to do, I’ve been able to do. Sometimes there might be people who know more about math than I do, but I’m doing things they might not be, so I wouldn’t want to compare two different approaches to education.”

Makonnen looks forward to his start-up businesses helping his country. “I want to put Jamaica on the map as an information technology power in the Caribbean, to make a little mark on this world,” he says. Indeed, his idea of success is “just being happy with whatever you’re doing and everyone around you being happy when they are with you. I want to make other people happy the way I make myself happy.”

Homeschooling Frees Time to Be a Tech Activist

“We’re tech activists,” says Barbara. “Jamaica’s adults know very little or nothing about computers. It has to be the youth that will bring Jamaica into the tech age.”

To that end, the Blake Hannah family is working hard, in conjunction with the minister [of technology and commerce), on setting up a national technology school. “We’ve opened computer labs at two high schools and intend to do so at every school that wants one. Makonnen’s appointment has been a very deliberate act by the minister to draw even more attention to technology in education.”

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The only other homeschoolers Barbara has met in Jamaica have been Americans or people who have lived abroad. The family is concerned about a national population of which 50 percent are under the age of 25, and an estimated 60 percent exit high school semi-literate with a low level of general knowledge. “It worried me that I was going to have to put my child into this educational system,” Barbara explains. “Makonnen learned to read when he was 3 years old. At 5 years of age, I put him into a nice little experimental school with a lovely English woman as a teacher. But everybody else was just learning to read, and I knew he was always going to be ahead of his age group. I was determined not to put my child into the hands of the illiterate barbarians of state schools, so I brought him home. It’s been good. It has set a matrix to show other mothers what they can do, and it has shown the educational system what it should do. Homeschooling is the best thing that ever happened to us.”

This homeschooling mom’s own formal education ended with a Kingston, Jamaica, high school diploma, but her education was always supplemented by a “house full of books and magazines and opportunities to meet and talk with intelligent people” who visited her journalist father.

“You know,” Barbara concludes, “the Winnie the Pooh books end because Christopher Robin has to go to school at age 6.” (The Pooh books were Makonnen’s favorites in his early years of reading.) “Up to then, he’d been homeschooling. He has to go learn algebra.” Jamaica may one day find itself lucky that Makonnen’s adventures didn’t have to end for compulsory school attendance.

After Homeschooling: Where Is Makonnen Now?

Makonnen has been a music composer and producer for the past 11 years, and is widely recognized for creating and producing hit songs for Jamaica’s leading reggae artists.  He also uses his computer skills to produce videos and digital artwork for his music company MultiCast Entertainment.

Encouraged by his musical peers, he has been recording and releasing his own songs.  Recent assignments outside his hometown of Kingston, Jamaica, include assisting the filming of reggae superstar Junior Reid’s 2010 California tour, and a 3-month, 2011 stay in Toronto to produce music for Universal Records new independent label EZ Mak Records.

Makonnen’s latest song, She Said…enjoy!

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