Distance learning
For many families, distance learning is a daily grind. Image Credit: Seyyed de la Llata

Dubai: Ever since distance learning started, we’ve seen social media posts of well-groomed students at home giving a thumbs-up from neat study corners, like pilots from their cockpits!

However, there is another reality not quite commonly shared in public domain.

The truth is, for many families, distance learning is a daily grind. The routine often crashes, just like the WiFi connection.

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Yes, online classes begin promptly at a set time, but when do you even get ready for them? An hour before, or just five minutes in advance to clear your throat?

On a normal school day, there is discipline, from when to wake up, what breakfast to have, what to wear (the same uniform), and when to do homework.

At home, it’s harder to stay on top of the game, parents said.

A student attends an online class from home. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Supplied

Two distance-learning bothers, in grade seven and 10 at a British school in Dubai, miss their school. So does their mum.

‘He wanders off’

“It’s just so hard to keep the younger one engaged in virtual class, he wanders off sometimes after logging in. And between classes, he sometimes chats with friends or plays video games. I have to keep a watch on him constantly,” she said.

Another parent, of a grade two pupil at an American school in Sharjah, said her son didn’t take a shower in the morning like he used to when physical school was in session.

Snacking in PJs

“Instead of waking up at 5.30am to get ready for school, he wakes up a little before 9am now, when his online class starts. He doesn’t have breakfast, he just munches on snacks between classes,” she added.

Her son doesn’t feel like dressing up for e-class; he is in pyjamas all day.

“I can’t wait for his school to reopen. He had resumed going to school but the reopening was delayed until the month-end. Students belong at school, home is not the place for them.”

Screen-time overdose

After spending five hours on the laptop for his remote classes, a grade seven boy at a British school in Sharjah switches immediately to PlayStation, his mum complained.

“There is too much screen-time in his life, it’s not healthy. Even his homework is done online. I’ve told him he can have his PlayStation time after he spends 15 minutes, to start with, on the cross-trainer,” she said.

WiFi keeps dropping

Her daughter, who is in grade nine, sometimes misses an online class because the laptop keeps missing the WiFi connection.

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“My husband says we can’t afford a new laptop right now. We bought a new WiFi adapter for the laptop, but that didn’t help. She has to ask her friends about the missed coursework — which should be easy because I suspect she has created her own chat group on the sidelines. Why else would she be always smirking?” the mum added.

“We opted for full distance learning for this term because it’s relatively safer as the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t left us. But I’m starting to wonder whether it’s better and healthier for children to be in school.”