Lifestyle Blog from the Philippines

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Pandemic Diairies: Homeschooling

For the past few months, my nephews and niece have been getting their education at home due to the pandemic. My younger nephew has been studying in a private school, a choice his parents made since he is still in elementary school and needs a good educational foundation in his younger years. My other nephew and my niece, on the other hand, are in high school via the public school system, something many parents have opted to do in our area since the cost of private school education even when homeschooled stayed the same as when they were physically going to school, which does not seem practical considering the economic situation most people are in because of the pandemic.

It has been difficult to watch the kids trying to learn given the current circumstances. My younger nephew is feeling frustrated with having to learn online via Google Meet. It is a challenge for the teacher to give students the proper attention that they need in that setup. My sister says that sometimes my nephew is upset to the point of tears due to the setup but there is nothing they can do about it. 

As for our high school kids, while there was an option for online and modular classes, eventually the school decided that they would all be done via the latter since internet connectivity issues might make their classes more difficult than it already is. My sister picks up the modules for two weeks, the kids follow a lesson plan/schedule and they organize their answers to their learning tasks for submission on the day that new modules will be picked up.

I have been helping the kids with their schoolwork and like most parents/guardians, it has been frustrating to see the errors in the modules that have made lessons difficult for the students. I’ve seen typographical errors where, possibly during encoding, some words or sentences were cut out of the lesson or instruction — leaving students struggling to understand what their teachers meant for them to learn or do. There were also tasks with questions that cannot be answered by learning from their modules, leaving the students to search online to learn for themselves. Another annoying and common occurrence is making students answer questions about certain drawings/sketches/pictures which are in grayscale, which makes the samples impossible to differentiate from one another.

Just recently my sister showed me a letter from the school regarding the modules and it said that for the next set of modules, they will start providing answer keys so that the parents/guardians will be the ones to check the work of the students before they submit it to the school. We were both in shock when we learned that! Answer keys included in the modules would be a temptation for kids to cheat on their lessons. With three students at home and only my sister to regularly check on them, this is almost impossible. While I can help out since I work from home, it is still a big thing to ask from the parents. My sister and I talked about how much more difficult it was for the parents who are working and cannot help their children at home and for those parents who did not get to finish school themselves. This is such a big thing to expect of them.

I am not saying that homeschooling is a bad idea. I know friends who have successfully homeschooled their kids and have done a great job at it. I just think that the concept is not for everyone, especially for families with both parents being away for most of the day because of work or parents who did not have the proper education themselves. If the homeschool format was prepared well, I believe that it would do a good job of educating the kids during this pandemic. But with things being rushed and the pressure placed on teachers who were not trained/prepared for this format, I can’t see how it can successfully work.

My heart goes out to all the kids, parents, and guardians who are having a difficult time due to this new educational setup. I feel for the teachers who were suddenly thrust into this setup and are most likely getting the blame for the inadequacies when clearly they are also learning things as they go and are just following orders.

If the pandemic goes on longer and the schools will have to do this for another year, I hope that the educational system will learn from the hits and misses of this year to make the next school year a better one.


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