It has been almost a week since the full home-based learning was implemented as part of “circuit breaker” measures to tackle rising COVID-19 cases in Singapore.
This arrangement has led to parents with questions on how to facilitate their child’s learning, tackle challenges that arise, among other concerns.
With that, the Ministry of Education (MOE) has responded to these top concerns which parents might find useful when it comes to improving effectiveness of home-based learning during this crucial COVID-19 period.
Full Home-based Learning During COVID-19: Top Concerns Answered
Q: My child keeps asking me for help in his work but I have work to do as well. What should I do? Why is the teacher not guiding him?
Parents, know that HBL is a relatively unfamiliar process for both you and your child. It is natural for children to have even more questions along the way especially when you are there physically, making it more convenient for them to approach you.
But here’s an important thing to note: you are only facilitating and are not supposed to take over the role of the teacher. You can start to ease your child into the process by helping him/her develop the habit of self-directed learning.
Here are some tips for parents:
- Create routines
- Draw up a family timetable
- Set ground rules
- Agree on slots where your child can check in with you (asking of questions, etc). In the event your child encounters a question outside of the designated slot, he/she will have to come up with a solution on his/her own.
Setting clear guidelines will enable you to juggle between work and supporting your child in HBL.
Home-based learning during COVID-19 can be made more effective with some adjustments. | Photo: iStock
Q: Will the teacher be able to remotely supervise the classes during HBL properly?
While the Ministry agrees that education is still best done through schools, they assure that they will do their best to ensure a smooth HBL.
Updates on what teachers are doing to supervise classes:
- Selected Live lessons
- Online quizzes
- Assignments and more
- Check students’ understanding of lessons through HBL work submitted
- Check-in with students via phone/video calls
It is also important to note that teachers might also be parents of young children themselves, so it is important to exercise patience and understanding if there are delayed responses even during school hours.
Q: I have multiple children having HBL but only one laptop. How do I manage?
In face of such a situation, always prioritise according to urgency and importance. In this case, the most important task would be accessing lessons available at dedicated time slots.
Parents, here’s how you can manage it better:
- Make a plan of the different lessons and tasks assigned to your children (this is so you can better allocate the timings for each child in using the laptop/device)
- Your children can use the rest of the time on reading, doing hard copy assignments or even exercise
- Consider using smartphones for video conferencing
- Laptop and tablets can be reserved for completing assignments and accessing Student Life Skills (SLS) lessons
Q: My child wants to meet his friends to study and do project work. My child also needs to meet with his tuition teacher to keep up with his work. Is that allowed?
This is not allowed as the purpose of the “circuit breaker” is to reduce social interactions outside of immediate household members.
The Minister appeals to all students to stay home and keep safe during this month of full HBL.
Q: Why are we moving to full HBL?
This is part of precautionary measures to enhance safe distancing with nationwide circuit breaker measures, according to the Minister.
The rationale is to not compromise the safety that has been observed so far in schools—no transmission cases in schools, only infections linked to travel or from a family member at home.
Q: I do not have computing devices or WiFi. Where can I get help?
There are loan sets available in your child’s respective schools, including computing devices and internet dongles/routers.
Simply approach your child’s school, and for further assistance you may need throughout the HBL period.
Your child can receive help for home-based learning during COVID-19 if you are working in essential services, but depending on priority. | Photo: iStock
Q: I have a young child at home with no one to look after. What should I do?
Schools will provide assistance if you are working in essential services and are unable to secure alternative care arrangements.
In other instances if your home is not conducive for HBL or the need to perform essential services arises, you can approach your child’s school for assistance. Do note that priority will be given to those who really need it.
[This article has been updated as of 14 April 2020] Home-based learning during COVID-19
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