Parents Share: How to Survive Home-Based Learning

Parents, you got this.

By Olivia Lim      25 May 2021

When it was announced that most schools in Singapore would move to full home-based learning (HBL) from 19 May 2021, many parents felt that familiar sinking feeling. It’s definitely challenging to juggle working from home with supervising the kids and making sure they keep up with schoolwork, not to mention dealing with younger children and ensuring the household still runs smoothly. We speak to a few parents to find out their top tips for making HBL easier for all.

“Getting organised the previous night is key to staying sane the next morning. Keep the computers neatly laid out on the workstation/table, charged and ready for use the next morning. Ensure all the earpieces, chargers and adapters are within easy reach, as well as all the stationery items, to avoid scrambling for them in the morning. We have tried to create a semblance of the classroom environment with a whiteboard and markers, so the kids can write down any important information or reminders such as online homework submission deadlines for the day.” – Shweta Parida, mum of two girls aged 10 and 11

“Accept that you will not be as productive at your job while supervising HBL. As a minimum, give your manager and colleagues a heads-up that you may need more time than usual to respond to their emails and texts. Make rewards part of the HBL process. Whether it’s candy or screen time, it really helps when kids have something to look forward to after completing their worksheets and e-learning. And if you don’t have time and energy to prepare meals, there is absolutely no shame in ordering McDelivery for everyone, with extra ice-cream for mummy and daddy.” – Germaine Ong, mum of 2 girls aged 7 and 2

“Create a conducive environment for the kids, and separate them if possible so as to minimise any distractions (my boy calls his space his “office”). Draw up a list of to-dos for the day (not only HBL assignments, but practices for external enrichment classes like piano and taekwondo), and give them small rewards like TV time, iPad playtime or just free play for every few tasks that they have completed.” – Mavis Liang, mum of a boy, 8 and a girl, 6

“If your kids and their friends are highly motivated and mature enough, consider allowing them to conference call with their classmates to complete their assignments together. It’s fun, and allows them to keep in touch with friends and not feel so alone. Parents may need to supervise this for one or two sessions to see if it is helpful. If the group of kids chat more than work, then this privilege would have to be taken away. Set a time with your child for completing all HBL homework for the day. This helps to motivate the child (my child at least because he knows that there is an end to work). It also allows parents to focus on their work after a specific time if they have to WFH.” – PY Lim, mum of 1 boy aged 11

“Play tag. How? Work out a schedule with your partner – who deals with the children (supervising HBL, arranging meals, settling their requests, etc.) and who works. Then, stick to the plan. It’s better if each parent commits 100 per cent to his or her task – this means the partner who has time to work should focus on it, and complete the work well and expeditiously.” – Jeff Tay, dad of three boys aged 9, 7 and 20 months

“Ask your child to go through the school’s HBL timetable the day before, and what needs to be prepared beforehand. HBL means some of the lessons are shorter and not for a full day, so kids will have more free time. Plan out other activities to fill some of their spare time, for example, colouring, sudoku, fun online educational resources, etc. to keep them occupied while parents are still working. It also helps to create an open environment where parents are able to watch them while WFH at the same time. Kids need to be motivated when studying at home – find out what kind of rewards they like, be it a favourite snack, or bubble tea!” – Janice Tan, mum of 1 girl aged 13

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