Coronavirus: A guide to preparing your child for home-based learning

The Ministry of Education has come up with a Parent Kit to guide parents on what to do on those days.
The Ministry of Education has come up with a Parent Kit to guide parents on what to do on those days.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Home-based learning will be rolled out at all primary and secondary schools, junior colleges and the centralised institute from Wednesday (April 1) as part of additional efforts to support safe distancing.

The Ministry of Education has come up with a Parent Kit to guide parents on what to do.

DEBUNKING 5 MYTHS ON HOME-BASED LEARNING

Myth 1: My child must spend the whole day on the computer.

Fact: Home-based learning (HBL) can consist of one or more of the following:

a. E-learning (for example, online assignments through the Student Learning Space (SLS) or other online learning platforms)

b. E-mail messages (for example, notes or worksheets through e-mail)

c. Hardcopy assignments (for example, worksheets or textbooks)

Every school has a different plan, based on the needs of their students. So don't compare, okay?

Myth 2: I have only one Internet device. It is impossible for all my children to do HBL using the same device.

 
 
 

Fact: Each child's HBL will occupy him/her for four (primary), five (secondary) and six (JC/CI) hours each day. Not all of the time will require the use of an Internet device.

Schools will also provide students with sufficient time to complete any online work. Teach them to take turns!

Myth 3: My child's learning will be affected if I do not have an Internet device or access to the Internet.

Fact: If your child's HBL plan requires the use of a computer/device, schools can lend devices to students who need them. Schools can also assist if your child does not have Internet access at home.

Myth 4: I have to take over the role of teaching my children at home.

Fact: You do not need to take over the role of your child's teachers. Support your child to learn independently at home.

Encourage them to ask their classmates and teachers if they do not understand their assignments.

For younger children, you may need to supervise them to some extent, for example, provide reminders and ensure that they are on a task, but allow them to attempt the assignments on their own.

We also encourage parents to read recreationally with and to your child. The key is to continue the momentum of learning!

Myth 5: Schools will be closed during HBL days.

Fact: Most teachers will work from home and there will be teachers who can assist your child online.

There will be teachers in school in case a few students need computer access or other support.

If you know of a parent who needs assistance, let them know they can approach their child's school.

TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD IN PRIMARY SCHOOL

1. Get ready together

Set up an area conducive for learning, such as at the dining table or study desk. This should not be where your child sleeps!

Check that your child has the necessary resources, such as:

a. Passwords and login IDs: Access the online portals that the school will be using (for example, SLS) with your child, and get them to note down their login details.

b. HBL timetable and relevant materials: Ensure that your child knows the schedule and brings the materials home the day before. Arrange the materials by subjects in the study area for easy access.

c. Point of contact for HBL queries: Teachers will inform your child about their preferred mode of communication - they are not required to share their mobile numbers.

2. Establish a structure together

Unlike in school, an adult may not always be present to supervise your child. It is important to work out a routine with them on:

a. Study, meal and rest timings

b. "School" time (for example, change out of pyjamas before starting HBL)

c. "Recess" time (for example, healthy, balanced diets)

d. Recreation time (for example, 15 minutes after completing each subject)

e. Recreational activities at home (for example, reading story books, craft work, exercise)

f. Recreational activities online (for example, decide how much time he/she should spend online, establish boundaries such as not chatting with strangers)

3. Have regular check-ins

At the end of the day, have a conversation with your child about his/her experience. You can talk about:

a. The HBL experience: How was his/her day? What did he/she learn? Was it difficult/manageable? Would he/she need to tweak the learning area/routine? What other support would he/she require?

b. The Covid-19 situation: How does he/she feel about the current situation with Covid-19? How is he/she feeling about being away from his/her friends? Does he/she have any questions about Covid-19?

It is okay if you don't have the answers - look for the answers and learn together! Affirm him/her for adapting and showing the spirit of resilience.

4. Plan ahead

Working parents should take this time to think about alternative childcare arrangements should the situation change.

TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD IN SECONDARY SCHOOL, JC/CI

1. Guide your child to get ready

Set up an area conducive for learning, such as at the dining table or study desk. This should not be where your child sleeps!

Make sure your child is familiar with and has the following:

a. Passwords and login IDs: Access to the online portals that the school will be using (for example, SLS), and he/she has taken note of the login details.

b. HBL timetable and relevant materials: Check that your child knows the schedule and has the materials he/she needs to complete his/her work.

c. Point of contact for HBL queries: Teachers will inform your child about their preferred mode of communication - they are not required to share their mobile numbers.

Make sure your child has access to the following tools:

a. Digital tools available on different platforms (for example, annotation function on SLS, whiteboard function on Zoom)

b. Digital shortcuts (for example, use bookmark or folders for electronic learning materials for easy access)

c. Note-taking techniques (e.g. make notes, list questions that arise during HBL and organise them by subjects for clarification back in school or over e-consultation with teachers)

2. Agree on a structure

Unlike in school, an adult may not always be present to supervise your child. It is important to establish a routine with them on:

a. Study, meal and rest timings

b. "School" time (for example, change out of pyjamas before starting HBL)

c. "Recess" time (for example, healthy, balanced diets)

d. Recreation time (for example, 15 minutes after completing each subject)

e. Recreational activities at home (for example, reading novels, craft work, exercise)

f. Recreational activities online (for example, decide how much time he/she should spend online, behave responsibly online)

3. Have regular check-ins

 
 
 

At the end of the day, have a conversation with your child about his/her experience. You can talk about:

a. The HBL experience: How was his/her day? What did he/she learn? Was it difficult/manageable? Would he/she need to tweak the learning area/routine? What other support would he/she require? Any queries that he/she may wish to speak to the teachers on but not sure how to go about doing it?

b. The Covid-19 situation: How does he/she feel about the current situation with Covid-19? How is he/she feeling about being away from his/her friends? Does he/she have any questions about Covid-19?

It is okay if you don't have the answers - look for the answers and learn together! Affirm him/her for adapting and showing the spirit of resilience.

4. Remind your child to stay at home

For working parents, do remind your child to stay at home, so that he/she can remain safe, minimise any exposure to the coronavirus and practise social responsibility.

Specifically:

a. Remain at home as much as possible

b. Minimise visitors to the house

c. Minimise time spent in public places and contact with others

d. Monitor his/her health and temperature

e. Follow his/her HBL plan closely to continue with learning

SOURCE: Ministry of Education