Education in the face of a pandemic: Should parents shift to homeschooling?

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 12) — Schools have been closed all around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and formal learning for some students have been impeded by the lack of access to the available alternatives.

In the Philippines, the school year is set to resume in August, yet conducting traditional classes is far from happening soon, according to the Department of Education.

RELATED: IATF adopts DepEd resolution to open classes in August

Confronted by the health crisis challenge, parents are starting to explore other ways to provide their children education while staying safe at home. Homeschooling is one.

Homeschooling is a kind of learning wherein “parents drive the learning and education,” as opposed to home-based learning where teachers and schools are still the ones in charge of the child’s education, Homeschool Global president Edric Mendoza said in an interview with CNN Philippines on Tuesday.

Despite the control and flexibility that homeschooling offers, parents must ask themselves important questions before deciding to pursue this type of learning, he said.

Do I have the capability?

Mendoza said that one of the most important questions parents have to ask is their capability to handle the homeschool setup.

“Ang unang kailangan gawin ng parents ay tanungin ang sarili nila. Kaya ba nila? As they decide to homeschool, do they have the capability and the desire to do it? ‘Yan ang importanteng considerations,” he said.

[Translation: What parents need to do first is ask themselves. Can I do it? As they decide to homeschool, do they have the capability and the desire to do it? Those are the important considerations]

According to him, parents have to build a sense of structure for their children, because they are responsible in choosing the materials for their kids to study. This includes the pacing of their children when it comes to their learning.

Am I resourceful enough?

Mendoza emphasized the value of resourcefulness. Since parents are now the educators, they need to find ways to improve their children’s learning, he said.

This include looking for more online resources, communities, and coaches who can mentor their children on different topics and subjects.

He said that most homeschooling modules include quizzes, projects, and assessments that will help parents gauge their children’s performance.

Mendoza added that majority of homeschoolers base their lessons on printed materials.

“Ang napansin kasi namin before this community quarantine, karamihan ng mga nag home school, sigiuro mga 80% ng mga homeschoolers, hindi sila online-based.”

[Translation: According to our observation before this community quarantine, majority of homeschoolers, maybe 80%, they are not online-based.]

Do I have the time?

Lastly, parents need to consider if they have the time to focus on their child’s homeschooling.

According to Mendoza, each age group requires different types of attention. For pre-schoolers, he said that it is advisable to spend 20 to 30 minutes of teaching, with two to three subjects per day.

Parents can start adding more time of teaching as their kids grow up and eventually adjust to the type of education.

Mendoza added that kids who have been homeschooled for a while, especially those in high school, can be considered as “self-directed learners” as they require minimal supervision from their parents.