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FAMILY LIFE | A family thriving with their kids’ online classes

REY AND GRACE have four kids aged 15, 14, 7, and 4. They are doing great despite the year of and still ongoing lockdown situation in Quezon City. They share some practical learning principles that helped them in their journey.

Preparation is vital. We proactively prepare our children for online classes. We discussed with them the situation and identified their needs for the online class.

We set up one room as their classroom, got tables and chairs, headphones and school supplies, and even cell phones to be used by each child. They got so excited. We set rules and clearly defined roles.

All three are in one room with headphones, while the youngest is in the other room. The first day, they did great. The second day, they were fine. The third day, they were having conflict. After several weeks of adjustments, they adapted to the rhythm of online classes.

Proper use of gadgets. One of our sons had 6 passcodes on his phone. Another child sneaked out at night to play cellphone games unnoticed. Another had late submissions of assignments because of reading eBooks. One watched YouTube videos every day after class. Our kids outsmarted us at first. We learned these during our intimate time with each child. We asked God how to deal with each of these cases.

Rey talked about it during our family devotions. We agreed to revise or add rules on the use of phones – like, “No Passcode in children’s cell phones”, “Deposit phones after school” and if violated no cell phone personal use for a week. Rey set up access on all their accounts and their online activities to his cellphone and laptop to monitor each child. Multiple conversations and debriefing took place every day.

Physical activities before and after classes. To remain sane, we created physical activities that engage the whole family. The boys observe ABCDE before going to school. A for Awake. B for make up their Bed, eat Breakfast and take a Bath. C for Chores. D for Daily Devotion. E for Exercise. Then, they go to school.

After school, around 4 o’clock, we all go out and play outside in our mini-subdivision. They bike around, play tag, and socialize with others following proper health protocols. Our high schoolers have talk times with other teenagers as well. At night, we have family devotion. On weekends, we watch movies, play board games, and attend an online church. Deeper family conversations happen after our online worship. We do one-on-one dates with our boys to hear their hearts also. In this way, we know where we all need to improve.

Precise Roles and Responsibilities. We agreed on our day-to-day schedules. Our two high school boys do things independently with less supervision, and we only help when needed. We are hands-on with the younger ones. Rey does multitasking doing ministry and meetings side by side listening to Pau’s (grade 2) online class. He assists him with his online activities after the class. I take care of Dayil, teaching him the basics of ABC, counting, reading, and doing creative activities so that he will not disturb his brothers during class.

Rey and I exercise our roles according to our giftings, inclination, and strengths. Rey is good at speech and essay writing, composition, making poems, short stories, art, and cooking assignments. He checks the deadlines of online activities and performance tasks. He supervises the boys before online classes while in meetings. Early in the morning, he cooks and prepares food for the day. He does all the errands, marketing for our food and groceries.

I tutor in Math and Filipino and help with their experiments. I take photos and videos of performance tasks. I do the laundry and clean the house. Our boys help with their chores: mopping the floor, washing dishes, watering plants, and feeding pets (fishes and birds).

Parenting is really hard work and HE-art work! It is God’s artwork that molds our hearts to cope with the challenges of online classes in this pandemic time.

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