Singapore is hitting a new milestone with students at primary, secondary and junior college levels switching over to home-based learning from 8 April until 4 May 2020.
After the trial run of home-based learning last week, some parents may be feeling anxious about this new mode of “school”. While not as ideal as face-to-face classroom lessons, the shift to home-based learning is necessary as we try to create a “fire break” against the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
For parents, especially those with primary school children, we put together three tips on how to make home-based learning work and how to help children get the most from the experience.
Home-based Learning Tips
1. Set up routines
With home-based learning, there is no longer a need for kids to commute from home to school. This is a great opportunity to use the time savings to create some new routines such as having breakfast together with your child or checking in with them before the start of the day.
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You can also agree with them about where their fixed learning space is at home. This will provide them with a bit more “permanence” in terms of a physical space for learning. You can even plan out daily “timetables” together, such as what to have for recess or lunch. If your schedule allows, you may even be able to join them at these times!
It would also be useful for parents who are also working from home to establish some ground rules with their children. For example, what they should do if they see you on a conference call while their having “recess”, or agreeing with your spouse who should be the “parent-in-charge” on certain types of issues, for example technical problems.
Having these discussions in advance can make it more conducive ad enjoyable for everyone to be at home together.
2. Encourage children to take greater ownership
Home-based learning is also an opportunity for children to take greater ownership over their own learning. While this may be easier for older children, home-based learning can yield learning opportunities for younger children too. It can be as simple making them responsible for being in front of the computer at the right time, or being prepared with all the needed materials for a lesson beforehand.
It is important that children adopt the mindset of learning during this time. Even if children get things wrong, they should look at it as an opportunity to glean lessons from their mistakes. Encourage them to check back with their teachers directly if they are unsure about topics or lessons.
By allowing children to take ownership for their own learning (and their failings too), parents will also feel less pressured and it also provides children the chance for personal growth.
3. Parents be parents
Parents’ role in home-based learning is to support their child’s learning.
Allow teachers to teach. Give them some latitude too. This is the first time that schools in Singapore have implemented such large-scale home-based learning and there are bound to be some teething issues (some of which already surfaced during the first round of home-based learning).
Instead, parents can keep a look out for their child’s mental well-being. If you find your child struggling with online lessons or the work on the Student Learning Space, reach out to his or her teacher to highlight and discuss any issues.
You’ve Got This!
Home-based learning is going to be a learning process for everyone – students, teachers and parents alike. It is different from the classroom-based learning that we are all used to. Expect hiccups along the way.
We hope these few tips help you feel less stressed about home-based learning and also help your child get into the right mindset to ace this period of learning at home.
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