Life in the Time of COVID-19: Will My Kids Be Left Behind?

Posted on - in Education
DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones: Closing schools is not an option
Photo from Philippine Star’s Facebook Post

Will our children be truly left behind when we close schools this year?

I was supposed to post this just on my FB page, as a reaction to DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones’ statement: “Closing schools is not an option. Delay by one year or even six months will mean an incalculable loss in learning for our children who will be left behind.” But I found it too long, so I put it here instead on my blog.

When quarantine started last March, hubby and I were already thinking what would happen during the next school year. Around April, the kids’ school announced that they will be doing online and blended learning — their first time to do so, being a traditional school for 30 years — but without cutting their tuition. That’s almost 40k per child. Hubby and I were a bit iffy because we both had (and still experience) salary cuts. Also, that month, we did not have a stable internet connection. Even working from home was a challenge. What more online learning for the kids?

I discussed this with my sister, who told me that her mommy friends were thinking of doing a gap year. I had hesitations because Eldest was going Grade 6. Plus I know that she doesn’t want to sit out the year while her other classmates would go to school. So my sister floated the idea of homeschool, which we’ve both heard of before (especially her because she’s a tutor).

I researched on homeschooling and even attended talks and seminars about it. I also learned that aside from independent homeschooling and homeschooling with a provider, there’s what’s called lifeschooling or unschooling — which is NOT about not learning but adapting learning to your child’s pace and focusing more on practical life skills. Just goes to show that there are other methods in which kids can still learn outside a classroom setting.

So when I read about DepEd Secretary Briones’ statement that closing schools for up to a year “will mean incalculable loss in learning for our children who will be left behind,” I thought of two things.

First, that there will be no learning lost if parents and guardians step up to teach their children not just academics, but also useful life skills that would prove to be valuable in their adult lives (like, well, cooking rice, LOL).

And second, I’d rather lose one year of classroom-based schooling if it means the safety of my children. COVID-19 may not be a death sentence to Madam Secretary but you can’t say that for all (hello, categorical proposition “I,” char!).

Briones is right in one thing, though: learning must continue. And it’s wonderful to have options nowadays that allow parents to keep their children safe while they pursue knowledge. Online, modular, homeschooling, or unschooling — in the end, parents will choose what benefits their child in terms of education and safety.

 

 

Cover photo by Ben McLeod on Unsplash

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