Families can thrive in era of online learning: Part II


LAST week, I shared a lot of worrisome statistics on the effect of prolonged distance learning on our kids. I encouraged parents to fight from becoming a part of the statistics by understanding the bigger objective of schooling. I shared that I use Hirsh-Pasek’s 6Cs of 21st Century Learning Skills as my quick guide: Content, Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, Creative Innovation and Confidence. Last week, I shared Content and Critical Thinking.  Let me continue with the other Cs this week.


DURING her grade school years, my daughter became very individually competitive in academics. I often reminded her that most future problems will be highly complex that it would usually need a team to find a solution. More than this, I reminded her and my son that the better goal in life is not to be the best but to be able to relish success together with people around you. Today, both my kids love tutoring and encouraging their peers to do well in school. During distance learning, your kids can still spearhead class efforts. My daughter, with other class officers, worked to do a social contract to achieve class success. I especially liked these lines in the poster they made: “HELP each other in any way we can” and “Push one another to IMPROVE.”

At home, this is the best time to set family goals. For us, our family vision has always been for each of us to be happy and fulfilled. Since my kids were toddlers, I always gave them tasks, from which they would feel they made a contribution to our family’s success and happiness. For example, when Meagan was 2 I would come home from work and go to her room, where it would be her pretend-play time. I would say, “Mommy is so hungry and tired.” She would then ask me what was my order, then I would show her my appreciation for helping me feel less tired. Today, both my kids try to do chores or be self-sufficient in school as their way of contributing to the household.


THIS is one skill that is truly timely to develop in this pandemic. I would set a night per child to be our alone night. They can choose the food they would like to eat and we would talk about different topics, like my son’s Valorant games or my daughter’s various angst as a teenager. There are even Socio-Emotional Learning play tools now available, like Talk Cubes, where topics are suggested by rolling the dice. Another opportune activity now is to expose your child to your work. This was hard to do when we used to physically report to the office, but now, for those who work from home, it has become easier. My kids would listen in on mymeetings and then ask questions after.


THIS refers to the skill in developing new ideas or concepts, as well as effectively implementing and communicating them. This process of making tangible creative ideas extends beyond art and can include science and economics. One way to encourage this is by exposing our kids to nice technological solutions available like Canva to make certain topics or subjects even more easily understandable.


YOU can refer to my two-part column on August 18 and 25, titled How Courage is Built, on this. Now is a great time to engage our kids in trial-and-error activities like puzzle play, art, chores, even giving them the chance to suggest solutions, whether for home or work. The more trust we give them on the trying, the failing and the doing again, the more our kids can learn confidence.

Having made all these suggestions, I am aware that each parent’s schedule may be busier than the next. Let’s also try those “one” solutions that can hone these 21st Century Skills, as well as help our families achieve good mental health and happiness. For example, as the family relaxed during pool time recently, I made use of the book 100 Things Successful People Do by Nigel Cumberland. We had a game where I read each point and my kids voiced out if they liked or had this trait. This activity was fun and allowed us to get to know each other better. Another great example are family projects. My daughter’s class had a “Mano Amiga Books and Essentials Drive” charity project. I saw collaboration in their meetings, ideas and implementation. Using technology, they produced and communicated impactful collaterals. They were initially happy to get 100 books since it was only a two-week drive.

But just after the first week, they ramped up their confidence to set their goal to 1,000 books. We as a family tried to spread the goal to as many family and friends, and handled the pick-ups.  After two weeks, their class collected 9,625 books and raised P162,105.50 in cash/in-kind, including two full scholarships to the Mano Amiga Academy.

This pandemic is a great time for parents to learn how to be involved in their kids’ lives and be their “life teachers.” Let’s be pro-active and positive to be part of building our kids’ 21st century skills.

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