How to Effectively Implement Home-based Learning for Your Child During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Implement these tips for a productive home-based learning experience, and take out the stress in the equation that arises when you put together parents, children, and assignments that are to be completed at home!
The Ministry of Education (MOE), on Friday (27 March) announced that all students in primary and secondary schools, as well as junior colleges and centralised institutes, will have one day of home-based lessons per week beginning April. The Singapore Student Learning Space will be in operation as the platform to conduct home-based learning.
The schedule will be as follows:
- Wednesdays for Primary school students,
- Thursdays for Secondary school students, and
- Fridays for students of junior colleges and centralised institutes.
According to the MOE, the move was to “allow both our students and parents to be better prepared should the situation call for more days of home-based learning.”
With that in mind, here are a few tips we have compiled in order to make this process more efficient for everyone involved! Apply these principles in order to facilitate a smooth learning routine that has already been implemented by their schools for students of primary and higher grades.
Boost efficiency in online learning for your child
The key point to note here is that while home-based learning may be conducted, a “home is not a school, and it should remain your child’s place of peace and safety” according to a column published recently by Dr Colette Poole-Boykin, child psychiatry fellow at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Parents are being cautioned to “recognize what level your child is on and not push them past their limits.”
This may mean that even though a child is exposed to more than six hours a day at school, this does not mean they need the same hours of learning at home, as other factors such as break times, time spent in transition between lessons, times spent collecting and distributing materials will all come into play.
As a general rule, try to implement learning times catered to your child’s age. According to Dr Colette, research has calculated “a simple rule for figuring out how long children can stay focused: Multiply the child’s age by 2-5 minutes. So, if a child is 4 years old, he or she will be able to focus for 8 to 20 minutes, maximum.”
Attention spans differ from child to child, and you need to keep that in mind while planning out a schedule.
Preschoolers and Lower primary school students
Primary school students will generally be capable of 1-2 total hours of instruction per day. You may have to help your child stay on task and be organised with their work.
Implement set timings to foster a more predictable routine. In addition, make sure to schedule regular breaks to break up the monotony and aid kinetic learners who find it hard to stay still.
Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students
At this age, students can typically tolerate between 2-3 total hours of instruction per day.
This age group is more independent and generally does well with fewer reminders, a reliable working space, and minimal instruction.
Children of these ages are “learning how to be independent and have a more robust social life” as compared to younger children. Dr Colette advises keeping kids of these ages engaged with the use of video conferencing platforms during lessons and during assignments.
Upper Secondary grades and above
Children in this age-group will generally be able to cope with up to3-4 total hours of instruction per day.
“Adolescents in this grade can and should participate in the planning of their schedules. While they may need less management than their younger peers, they may need more encouragement as well. Remember that teens are also prone to changes in their mood and sleep patterns. Do not take their temperament changes personally,” Dr Colette advises.
Tips for parents to help their kids implement home-based learning more productively
The most important thing to remember here is that this is temporary. She notes that your job as a parent is to keep your kids “healthy and return them to school emotionally intact” during this time of crisis. The teachers as professionals have already been involved in “crafting plans to get the students up to date when they return to school.” You need to simply help your kids carry them through.
Here are a few points to keep in mind while helping foster home-based learning in your kids:
- Avoid feeling that you need to restrict learning to school hours. Do whatever is best for you and your family.
- Factor in individual attention span. Add in ample breaks to keep your kids interested in the work and to break up the monotony
- For younger learners, you may find that incorporating talking, reading, singing, and role-playing will make learning fun
- Chores can be a useful medium to teach certain mathematical concepts of measurements and ratios, and can be learned right in the kitchen! In addition to hands-on learning, it will also strengthen their relationship with you, and you will acquire a new helper!
- Work with teachers when in doubt. They would be better able to advise you in handling your child and the workload he/she is assigned.
- Do not feel overwhelmed at the workload that is assigned to your child. They will be provided with enough instructions from their teachers in order to complete their assignments.
Implement these tips for a productive home-based learning experience.