With the Department of Education’s (DepEd) thrust that the school year 2020-2021 will proceed as scheduled albeit via alternative learning means, parents are faced with a challenging dilemma: do I enroll my kids or keep them at home?
The coronavirus pandemic has made the upcoming school year a challenging one for school administrators, teachers, parents, and even learners because they must do away with face-to-face classes for a part (or in a worst-case scenario for the whole) of the school year. This means that all must adapt to distance or online learning, asynchronous learning, or a blend of both distance and face-to-face learning. So what should parents consider in making this decision? Here are a few questions we should ask ourselves first.
Do I have the resources necessary for online or distance learning?
Online learning requires equipment, including a functioning computer or laptop, a good internet connection, a printer (especially if you have young kids), a microphone and webcam (if your laptop or computer doesn’t have it built-in), and even software as required by the school. If we don’t have one, then can we procure them in time for the start of classes?
Do I trust the school to successfully transition and implement online or distance learning?
Another dilemma for some parents these days is whether or not to transfer their kids from one school to another, especially if they think that their old school is ill-prepared to handle online classes. Aside from the school’s capabilities to go online, another consideration if you are transferring, is how hard it will be to get your child’s paperwork from one school, and process the transfer and register to another school.
Are the school’s fees acceptable considering that some part of the school year will be done online?
A large part of a school’s tuition fee includes the use of school facilities and even extra-curricular activities — both of which will not be maximized this coming year. Hence, the school should be able to discount their fees this year or if not, at least provide a viable reason.
Can I still afford to send my child to the same school?
A majority of us are reeling from financial difficulties also brought about by the pandemic, so, understandably, our budgets — including that of our child’s schooling are affected. So it is logical to ask if we can still afford to send our child to his old school, or even to any school this year.
Can my child thrive or even cope with online learning?
Perhaps one important question to ask is if our child can handle online learning, especially if we have young kids. Older kids might have no problems using the necessary computer and software, but younger kids might need some help with the setup or even in muting or unmuting the video call. Some young kids might also find it difficult to stay focused on the class or the necessary tasks if they can only see their teacher on screen. So it’s best to assess your child first if he can cope with the new set up for the coming school year.
Can I help my child with online learning?
Chances are, our kids will need more of our help this school year compared to if this is a regular one. They might need us to help them set up the computer or software, print out worksheets, and even explain some of the lessons. So it might be best to also take this into account especially if you also have other kids to take care of (or teach) or if you’re working.
Am I willing to send my child to school once the government or school declares it safe for face-to-face classes?
Resumption of face-to-face classes is still uncertain, but as early as now, ask yourself if you’re willing to send your child to school once the government or school officials declare it safe. Or ask yourself what you’ll do if this situation arises.
Is it ok for me or my child if he’ll fall behind if I keep him home?
Parents sometimes worry too much about whether their child is “falling behind,” but these are uncertain times and chances are, a lot of students and their parents both here and even around the world are going through the same school issues. Ask yourself which one is more important: your child’s (and even family’s) health and safety or that he’ll fall behind for a year.
How will it affect my child’s mental health?
It’s also best to assess how sending your child to school or keeping him home will affect his mental health. The pandemic affects kids’ mental health in different ways — for some it could mean a high level of anxiety when outside of the home, while others might be stressed because of social isolation. So consider if it might be best for your kid to continue with schooling (even if via alternative means) for the sake of normalcy or for the social interaction, or if a gap year will do him good.