A FEW months back, the term homeschooling and distance learning connote privilege in so many aspects especially with regard to technology, finances, and how much time parents can personally allocate for the education of their children.
The pandemic brought about by Covid-19 compelled the Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission of Higher Education (Ched) to prohibit face-to-face classes in the incoming school year and forced the entire education system to adapt to changes.
Instead of being an alternative for the privileged few, teaching is suddenly moving online on a global scale and on a trial and error scheme creating questions on the reliability of internet access as well as its impact on the productivity of parents and children’s social life and learning.
These are valid concerns from all stakeholders brought about by the uncertainties of the time because we understand homeschooling as education taught at home by any qualified individual usually the parents using the module provided by the school.
However, the directive from the education department is not strictly homeschooling or distance learning but to offer online blended learning which means a combination of technology mediated synchronous and asynchronous session that also covers the traditional concept of homeschooling and distance learning.
The issue of slow internet connection in some areas in the country is also being considered by the education department by producing printed modules that could be delivered to the house of the students or picked up at school to ensure that learning will continue under the circumstances.
Although it is a given that anything new brings along with it the fear of the unknown but what most of us don’t realize is that we have participated in practicing the principles of homeschooling in our traditional education system prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The practice of giving assignments was designed to complement the formal instruction in school in the hope that the children are not missing too much of the lessons tackled traditionally and the whole idea is to make the parents as partners in the process of educating their children not only in the physical school but also at home.
It is not something new to parents to give mathematics drill to their children at home or help them with their English composition or provide a personal context to the issues tackled in their history and social science classes and this is technically homeschooling in some respect.
In my point of view, the concept of homeschooling is not entirely new but under the new circumstances the parents are required to expand what they have been doing when they help their children with their homework.
Homeschooling or distance learning is not a substitute in sending children to the physical classroom because it is in the traditional school system that they can acquire technical and social skills that are important for their survival.
There is no assurance that this entire thing will work, but it is worth supporting as we don’t have much option to ensure continuous learning of our children while we are still waiting for the invention of the vaccine against the virus that crippled not only our education system but also our economy.