Surviving the First Week of Online Classes

Continuing education for this year is a very hard decision to make for the parents. With the pandemic, our children’s safety are our utmost priority. Given that all of us are adjusting, I am sure even the schools have to undergo major adjustments in terms of their curriculum, what modes of learning they will adapt, how to deliver the highest level of education for the students.

I blogged about how we love our children’s school last year. We transferred homes in 2019 so the kids had to transfer schools as well. We love the Montessori way of learning and both our kids adapted to it quite well. However, for this year, we decided to skip the school year for our youngest one, a Casa student last year and transfer our 4th grader to a different school who offers online classes the entire school year. Most private schools I know, including my kids’ old school, are dependent on the DepEd’s recommendation – online classes for now and back to face-to-face when they allow it. Which we are not comfortable with unless a vaccine has successfully completed trial and is available in the market. Hence, the decision to transfer.

For some students, specifically those enrolled in private schools, school year 2020-2021 have already started. I know of some schools who started earlier than us but my 4th grader started school last Monday, August 17.

I set up the laptop in their bedroom while I work in the living/dining area. I asked my son if he wanted to set up at the dining table so he’ll be beside me while he do his online classes but he’d rather have his own space so he can focus. Good thing is that, I purchased a noise-cancelling headset some years back and recently upgraded our laptop so he’s already equipped with the hardware. One thing I like about our new school is that everything will be done online, modules will be sent thru email which means no books to purchase and we don’t have to physically go to the school to pick them up. No notebooks and other school supplies were requested from us, except for a white board, markers and eraser that the students will be using for recitation. Also, unlike other schools who only meets once or twice a week and the parents doing most of the work, our new school holds online classes 4 hours everyday with each class lasting for 40 minutes and are being led by 4 different teachers per subject.

On the first day of class, I timed my break time at the same time of Johan’s start of class so I can assist him in setting up. They used Skype which I already set up days before, registered his own email address, added all his teachers and accepted all group chats in Skype. One thing that I did to make it easier for him to log on, I put together the apps that he will be needing in one corner, so he won’t have to look for them when it’s time for class.

As soon as he was logged in and started class, I went back to work and just checked on him from time to time to see if he’s having some technical problems of some sort. Thankfully, he had none. Yun nga lang, 20 minutes into class, gutom na! He requested for a sandwich agad! Lol!

For the first week of class, I would say we’re both doing very well. Wala pa kasing masyadong assignments! Let’s see how we’ll do in the coming weeks.

Few tips on how we made it work this first week:

1. Set a schedule. Johan’s classes start at 1:00 PM, we have lunch around 11:30 or 12:00. He takes a bath right after eating.

2. It helps that he has his own space. No noise, no distractions. I keep his younger brother at the living room where I work so he does not disturb his Kuya. The younger one takes his afternoon nap anyways right after lunch time so I get to work in peace as well.

3. Keep everything within arms reach. Scratch papers, pencils, whiteboards and markers are all within his reach so when the teacher asks for them, Johan doesn’t have to look for them.

4. Take a break. Recess is scheduled after the second class, I encourage him to take this break so he can rest his eyes from the screen and we can chat a little about what they discussed during the first two subjects.

5. Give him time to learn the technology. With everything being new to learning this year, I taught my son the basics of email, Skype and even Microsoft Excel. Their assignments are sent as excel files that they have to answer then send back as PDF files. I taught him some basic spreadsheet commands and how he can save the file in PDF format. That way, he learns to be independent and can do most of his school stuff on his own with minimal supervision from me.

I know it will be a challenging year for us parents, but there’s not much we can do about our situation now aside from learning to be more resilient and to keep a positive attitude. Our kids need us now more than ever, so rest if we must but get up and learn that Geometry equation again. And again. And again.

With that I leave you with this one meme that had me laughing the other day. Big pat on the back, Mamas! Kaya natin to!

Stay safe and God bless all of us!

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