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The moment my daughters’ school announced that third trimestral exams are cancelled because of the threat of Covid-19, I couldn’t help but ask: how long will this last? Will this affect the next school year? How can schools adapt to this?
This school year, we decided to enroll our girls in their current school. The school will implement Distance Learning for the entire year, which means classes are held online. They dispensed with blended setup, meaning mixture of online and face-to-face; hence giving us peace of mind.
I’ve been consistent in saying that we will not homeschool because of commitment issues so distance learning is the best set-up for us. Plus, I trust the school that they are better equipped and more than capable to carry out this kind of learning. There is also an online platform in place, which the girls were already using since last year.
Then again, I can’t help but be concerned.
First, there in a learning equipment issue. We’re thinking of getting the girls their own iPads (or any other tablet) specifically dedicated to learning. Then we thought it’s better if we just get them a laptop instead so they could do everything in there.
This leads me to the next concern – the cost. Buying a gadget can be costly, what more if we need multiple gadgets for multiple kids. Nonetheless, the husband and I both agreed to let them use our laptops in the meantime. If we could get by without buying anything, then we’re all good. We just have to implement a strict work schedule and make sure to get things done once the kids are done with their classes. Otherwise, we have no choice but to get them their own, which gives us time to save up for it.
The most important concern is will the kids be able to learn?
Distance learning means teachers will still conduct classes digitally. This is different from the usual classroom setting where teachers are more in control of the class. Plus, there’s something about face-to-face interaction and kids being inside the classroom and sitting beside their classmates. My kids adapt their classmates’ behavior as well, which is why classroom setting is ideal for them because they mirror what the majority is doing.
Now that learning shifted online, I have yet to see how this will work and how effective it will be for them. The girls had dry run sessions last week and although so far, so good, I noticed my youngest was less enthusiastic on the 20th minute. This could be an issue when it comes to retention and understanding the concepts being taught. Daily reviews are a must to make sure that she won’t be left behind.
Thankfully, our situation gives us liberty to stay at home. I could monitor the kids and stay beside them until they can be more familiar and comfortable with our new normal. What about those families where both parents have to go to the office?
More than these concerns, we have no choice but to adapt and prepare.
To begin with, setting up our home classroom is a must. Kids need their own space so they could focus. A home classroom doesn’t have to be fancy. In our case, we just utilized our family area and converted it into their study space to avoid distractions.
Preparing them for school sounds easy but trust me, it is challenging. Kids were on vacation for four months. I let them relax for a month since they deserved it but come May, I became strict with their schedule. I make it a point to include academics in their daily routine so they won’t forget what they learned.
Here are some of our activities in preparation for this coming school year:
- Building KOMUNIDAD using Lego
- Learning and mastering Multiplication
- Practicing and improving Filipino skills
- Introducing my youngest to Roman Numerals, still with the help of Lego
- Playing board games, particularly Monopoly, to practice their Math skills
- Reading more books, both English and Filipino, to boost reading comprehension skills
Mental preparation is also important. Kids need to realize that even if they are at home, there is a separate time for play and study. We usually do our academics in the morning since their schedule will be from 8am to 11:40am. This way, they will get used to the schedule and establish a routine. Yes, it seems strict and there was resistance at first but providing structure and routine keeps us focused, consistent, and more productive.
I also asked the kids to answer a simple worksheet I made. I want to know what their thoughts, feelings, and expectations are for the coming school year. Surely, they are adjusting, too. Although they’re happy that they don’t have to wake up early for 10 months, this is still a new learning environment for them.
Kids can adapt in any given situation. Just like adults, they need time, too. This is why preparation is crucial because it gives them time to warm up. I don’t know how this school year will go but one thing is for sure: we, parents, must be more proactive and attentive to their needs. Our support and guidance is needed now, more than ever.
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Ayi is a stay-at-home mom of two. When her kids are in their best state, she keeps up with chores, work, and ensuring that her sanity is intact. Join her as she navigates through this rollercoaster ride called motherhood.