Lessons I Have Learnt From The HBL Period

Lessons I Have Learnt From The HBL Experience
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When I woke up on the last day of Home Based Learning (HBL), there was a sense of immense relief. No more logging into SLS, rushing kids for Zoom lessons, following daily plans, endless assignments, incessant questions, constant monitoring, disruption of work etc.

The first week of HBL was a novelty. But once the novelty wore off, it was just biting the bullet to get through each day.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to all the teachers and their efforts in helping my children keep up with their studies. Teachers are indeed invaluable. But having children learning at home is a whole different story.

Juggling our own work, children’s demands, household chores on top of HBL and circuit breaker restrictions is truly a recipe for grey hair. Coupled with lack of sleep, I feel like an overblown balloon ready to explode with just a prick of a needle.


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Lessons Learnt from HBL

Here are a few thoughts on what I learnt about myself and my kids through the HBL experience.

1. HBL made me wished I paid more attention to my teachers in the past

My eldest is only Primary 1 but his Maths subject can be slightly complicated. I mean it’s not rocket science but some methods required to get the answer are rather baffling to me. An adult figuring out P1 Math. Gee…I can’t wait till he gets to upper primary.

2. A guideline is better than a timetable

A guideline is better than a timetable
My super rough guideline

Forget the blow-by-blow timetable. An ideal timetable assumes the kid is rule-abiding and that the supervising parent is fully available with no other kids to deal with. A flexible guideline helped more. Anything more rigid than that and it’ll collect dust on the wall. So a rough guideline worked for me, a very rough one.

3. Go with their flow

I can plan the best lessons but, when it comes to execution, it depends on the kids. It is hard to imagine them sitting still and following every instructions given to produce a masterpiece for the wall. Nothing could be further from reality.

Lessons learnt from HBL Period
Left: How we started off; Right: How it eventually ended.

I gave them a blank sheet of paper to finger paint and they preferred to disfigure the faces in the newspaper that was used for lining the table. Sigh. Fortunately, it kept them occupied for at least 20 minutes. Whatever works then.

4. Accepting individual kid’s learning styles

One good learning that came from HBL was that it provided me with insights on my child’s learning styles. It also reaffirmed certain desirable and undesirable habits that I want to adopt or avoid if I still want to tutor my kid. Like scolding. Or dictating how things should be done.

No. 1 freezes up when I start scolding and No. 2 is adamant on what he can or cannot do.

In matters related to learning, I have to pick my battles wisely. Should I lose the battle and win the war? Or win the battle and don’t bother about the war? Some days I just want to get it over and done with. Some days I try to be the patient mother who thinks long term. But deep inside I sincerely hope my children will bloom at their own pace and never lose their sense of wonder and worth.

5. Don’t interfere in their play and maybe…fights

Using the Lego baseplate as a slide and to make loud noises
Using the LEGO baseplate as a slide and to make loud noises.

When it comes to play, the activities I suggest don’t usually last very long. It only lasts longer when the ideas originate from my kids. For boys, anything that produces loud and weird sounds is deemed fun and funny. Unfortunately the fun is often short-lived. Fights ensue and I try not to interfere in hope that they’ll sort out their conflicts like mature adults. Who am I kidding, right?

6. Work out an arrangement with your “co-teacher”

A friend once remarked it’s hard to teach your own kind. That’s why the tuition industry is booming. It’s so hard to stay patient and calm when I teach my eldest Maths. Maybe it was my pet subject. So when my blood starts boiling, it’s such a relief when my husband takes over. That rarely happens. I might need to work out something like a DORSCON alert framework with my husband to prevent myself from seeing red.

What else has HBL taught me?

It has taught me that I’m so done with HBL. Period. Bring on the next challenge!

READ: Things That Teachers Only Say When Conducting Remote Classes