Online Distance Learning, So Far, So Good?

Aug 18, 2020 | Mom Life, Random Thoughts

Woah, almost two weeks passed by since the girls started their classes last August 5. At this point, all of us are still adjusting to this new mode of learning. My kids are still constantly asking when they will be back in school because they want to see their friends and teachers. Then again, I have to say Covid-19 and they’ll understand.

Going back, how is online distance learning for us so far?

To be honest, I was so stressed, especially during the first three days. This is a new mode of learning for everyone, so everyone is also adjusting. Even my kids are unsure of what to do and where to go despite the trial classes they had. I wasn’t able to work properly since we don’t have an established study routine yet.

Eventually, school days got better. The kids got more independent and most of the time, they figured things out on their own. Still, it’s not as smooth sailing as I hoped it would be.

OUR CONCERNS

Internet connection was our main concern but thankfully, PLDT did not disappoint – yet. Internet connection was stable during the duration of the kids’ classes, so it was good.

What I didn’t expect was the schedule for synchronous (where students meet their teachers) and asynchronous (no teacher but students were given worksheets) classes. I thought that in distance learning, kids will have synchronous classes in the morning and then worksheets in the afternoon. It turns out that it’s a mixture of both. There are days in a week where kids will meet their teachers and some days, they were given worksheets.

I am for fostering independence on kids but in this new setting, guidance is a must. My kids were lost on what to do during asynchronous classes. Even my eldest prefers meeting the teachers and then assignments after class since according to her, “I’m not sure if I’m doing the lessons correctly.”

Then, we need to adjust to a new system of learning. Since there is no face-to-face interaction, kids will meet their teachers through Google Meet. Worksheets and quizzes will be done through the school’s own learning platform, which crashes when there are a lot of users (thankfully, the school’s provider made adjustments to avoid lagging in case of multiple users).

The kids review their lessons everyday even before. For the school year, it seems like they have to double their efforts due to days where classes are asynchronous. I had to supervise them closely to make sure that they will understand their lessons. To be honest, this is affecting my work. It’s taking too much time and instead of being able to focus on my tasks to be accomplished for the day, those tasks have to wait to ensure that the kids are following.

Managing their schoolwork can be exhausting as well. I had to remind the girls to check their emails for homework so we can plot it in their calendar. We had to make sure we won’t miss any email unlike before, they have their Reminders notebook where everything was listed.

ADJUSTMENTS WE MADE, SO FAR

My eldest, during one of her asychronous class in English

Then again, we have no choice but to adjust. Come Weeks 2 and 3, we were able to establish a routine that made our lives easier and less stressful.

Here’s what we did:

  • Establish Daily Routine – Now that the kids have school, we need to establish our daily routine. Sleeping early is a must (must be asleep between 8m to 9pm) so they won’t have a hard time waking up early in the morning. The kids wake up between 6am and 6:30am, followed by breakfast, and then get ready for school by 7:30am. Classes are just half day, so I let the kids rest and play first before doing their homework. Of course, dinner and bath time before I tucked them in their bed. Having a routine is a must for us because it serves as our daily guide. Kids don’t need to be told because they know what to do as well.
  • Foster Independence – I encouraged the kids to practice and navigate the system by themselves. I demonstrated at first on what to do, where to go, and how to find classes. I showed them how Gmail and Aralinks work, too. Eventually, i let them explore and learn what they need to learn. I slowly left the girls figure things out especially during asynchronous classes, although there’s still “Mom, I need help” line during Filipino and AP classes. LOL
  • Kids Schedule – I printed the kids’ schedule and allotted a space where I can write if they’ll have synchronous or asynchronous class for each subject every week. The kids’ have a copy, too. This way, we know what to expect for each subject.
  • Make A List – Aside from the blank schedule, we also make a list of the tasks and homework that need to be done. We have a whiteboard where we write a summary of all the assignments and quizzes but I still tell the kids to write all reminders, including specific details, in the notebook. This will make it easier for us to see the tasks they need to finish.
  • Preparation Is A Must – This includes checking of emails and making a list of all required tasks everyday. I instructed my daughters to make it a point to look at their schedule and prepare all their books and notebooks for their respective subjects. Being an early bird is likewise recommended since this gives us ample time to prepare.

Thankfully, the school also did their part and made adjustments, too. Sending emails were limited to before 6pm. Instead of bombarding us with email messages, modules were uploaded through Google Drive. They also send a weekly schedule indicating whether a particular subject for the day is synchronous or asynchronous.

My youngest, independently doing her task in English

TIPS FOR PARENTS

If your kid hasn’t started with online distance learning yet, then you still have time to prepare. Here are some of the things you can do:

  • Change sleeping habits. Even if the kids don’t physically go to school, they still need to wake up early and be punctual. Therefore, train your kids to sleep early, preferably before 9pm.
  • Set up a study routine. This is a must. Establishing a study routine, or at least a daily routine in general, will help put order in your everyday life. The schedule doesn’t have to be strictly followed but at least there’s a proper flow of daily activities. This will also help you get chores and personal tasks done since the kids are following a schedule.
  • Let your child be. It’s tempting to do things for our kids. At times, I want to just answer the tasks para lang matapos na. Then again, I know that doing things for my kids won’t help them. In fact, it won’t teach them anything and we’re not making their lives easier since they won’t learn by themselves. Always, always, always encourage independence and let your child learn on his/her own.
  • Be respectful to your child’s teachers. Our first week wasn’t smooth sailing as we hoped it would be. There were lots of confusion and I must admit, it did stress me out. Instead of lashing out and posting negative comments publicly, I relayed our concerns and that of my co-parents (since I was the class rep) to our level coordinator. Collectively, we made suggestions that could potentially help everyone’s lives easier. The bottom line is be respectful. It would be overwhelming and stressful since this is a new system, but being disrespectful to teachers and the school in general won’t help.
  • Take a deep breath. Online distance learning is overwhelming. Take it from me who manages two kids who are both in the primary level. Before you start with something e.g. complain (LOL). always take a deep breath. Relax. Trust me, things will get better eventually.

At this point, I’m really hoping for the best. Our role as parents are needed now, more than ever. We have to be more proactive and attentive to ensure that our kids are equipped with necessary and appropriate knowledge as we go through this #NewNormal.

How’s online distance learning so far?

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I am a law student turned stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Join me as I go through this journey called momma-hood. [email protected]

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