Coronavirus: MOE provides tips for parents on supporting children's once-weekly home-based learning

Students will have about four to five hours of lesson time on the day of home-based learning, out of which two hours can be used to access digital devices.
Students will have about four to five hours of lesson time on the day of home-based learning, out of which two hours can be used to access digital devices.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - Students across the island will from Wednesday (April 1) begin lessons once a week at home, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) had announced last Friday that primary schools would do so on Wednesdays, secondary schools on Thursdays, and junior colleges and the Millennia Institute on Fridays.

This will prepare parents and students for more days of home-based learning if and when it is required, the ministry said.

For the rest of the days in school, dismissal times will be staggered to reduce congestion when students take public transport or school buses home.

To address concerns of parents, the MOE has compiled a kit to explain how home-based learning will work, and how parents can support their children's learning during this period.

The Parent Kit will be sent to parents through the Parents Gateway, a digital platform to get updates from schools and the ministry.

Students will have about four to five hours of learning on the day of home-based learning, out of which two hours can be used to access digital devices.

The MOE had said that students who do not have access to digital devices will receive support from schools.

Schools will remain open for a small group of students whose parents are not able to make alternative childcare arrangements.

 
 
 

In its Parent Kit, the MOE said that home-based learning could take the format of e-learning, such as online assignments, receiving notes or worksheets through e-mail messages, as well as hard copy assignments such as textbooks.

The kit stated that every school has a different plan, based on the needs of its students. "So don't compare, ok?" it added.

For families with more than one child, parents can teach children to take turns learning on the digital device, it said.

"Not all of the time will require the use of an Internet device," it added.

A primary school pupil will have four hours of home-based learning each day, a secondary school student will have five hours, and a junior college or Millennia Institute student will have six hours.

Schools can lend devices to students who need them, and will also help if families have no Internet access at home.

The MOE also said that parents are not required to take over the role of teaching at home, but to support children to learn independently.

 
 
 

"For younger children, you may need to supervise them to some extent... but allow them to attempt the assignments on their own," it said.

It encouraged parents to set up a routine with their children regarding study, meal and rest timings, and set aside an area conducive for learning, such as the dining table or study desk.

"Working parents should take this time to think about alternative childcare arrangements should the situation change and the number of days for home-based learning is increased," said MOE.


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

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

Here is MOE's 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 (e.g. online assignments through the Student Learning Space (SLS) or other online learning platforms)

b. E-mail messages (e.g. notes or worksheets through e-mail)

c. Hardcopy assignments (e.g. worksheets or textbooks)

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

Myth 2: I only have 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 (Pri), five (Sec) 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 loan 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 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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. change out of pyjamas before starting HBL)

c. "Recess" time (e.g. healthy, balanced diets)

d. Recreation time (e.g. 15 mins after completing each subject)

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

f. Recreational activities online (e.g. 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 and the number of days for HBL is increased.

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 (e.g. 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 (e.g. annotation function on SLS, whiteboard function on Zoom)

b. Digital shortcuts (e.g. 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 (e.g. change out of pyjamas before starting HBL)

c. "Recess" time (e.g. healthy, balanced diets)

d. Recreation time (e.g. 15 mins after completing each subject)

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

f. Recreational activities online (e.g. 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