Parents contemplate homeschooling amid pandemic

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by AFP

PARENTS who are feeling the heat of the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) system are now looking at homeschooling as the best alternative to the “disjointed online lessons” that have left a lot of students and teachers frustrated.

Many parents are of the opinion that homeschooling would be a better option in the time of Covid-19 pandemic that does not seem to show any sign of slowing down.

Shafila Shadi, a mother of three, said if the current online learning system continues to falter, she might just have her children homeschooled.

“It could be a better option at the moment because the person you choose to teach can give full attention to your children. It will be like learning at school, but just without friends.

“At least, there will be no momentary pause caused by bad Internet connections while learning,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Shafila still prefers her children to attend school physically and learn the traditional way as they need to have fun while learning.

“What is more fun than to learn something with your friends right? To build camaraderie and socialise. We are living in an age where people are constantly on their phones and gadgets.

“We tend to forget that socialising is important as well. And I want my children to have the ability to have a conversation with people.”

As for online learning, different students cope differently and Shafila admitted that it is not easy as it seems.

“Usually online classes are in the morning and that is the time when parents are working as well. For families that don’t have enough laptops or gadgets for online classes, it is a struggle.”

Shafila has a son who just started his primary education this year. According to her, he seems to be faring well with his online lessons, but still prefers going to school.

“From my observation, online learning has its limitations. Teachers and students can’t really pay attention to each other. For example, when the Internet connection is not that good, some of the students might miss what the teacher was saying or explaining and vice versa.”

When it comes to online lessons, Shafila suggested the number of students per class could be minimised, so that the attention could be spread more evenly.

“Let’s say that there are 30 students in a class. Teachers could split them into two separate classes, so that more attention can be given to students.

“It will also help the relationship between students and teachers. On the other hand, it might just be difficult for the teachers.”

Even though online learning has many disadvantages, many can agree that it helps improve the Covid-19 situation by keeping more people indoors, which would help reduce the number of cases in the country.

“I hope that the education system will be more prepared for online learning if there is another outbreak like this. But after the pandemic, I really hope that all schools will reopen and children can go back to school,” Shafila added.

With the nationwide vaccination programme about to begin by the end of this month, she said parents’ confidence in allowing their children to return to school would be boosted.

The first phase of inoculation, between February and April, would involve both medical and non-medical frontliners.

The second phase, from April to August, is targeted at high-risk individuals, while the final phase between May and February is reserved for individuals age 18 and above.

Those below 18 years old would not receive the Covid-19 vaccines since there are no clinical trials conducted on children.

Jeyanthy Munian, a financial advisor in an insurance company, said homeschooling is certainly part of her consideration if online lessons fail.

“Children can understand better and it is easy for us to monitor their studies,” the mother of three told TMR.

However, she still prefers to send her children to school once the pandemic is over. Jeyanthy does not have a good opinion on online learning.

“There is no advantage on online learning because the line is poor, they (her children) can’t concentrate,” she explained.

Jeyanthy also hopes the Malaysian education system must be more accurate in the learning process after the pandemic.

Read our previous report here

DidikTV to be aired on Wednesday