Here are some quick tips from the Ministry of Education (MOE) to support your children in their home-based learning (HBL) and how you can guide them through this circuit breaker period.
1. Set-up Conducive Learning Space
Many secondary school students would have a dedicated study table at this age. However, there are some teenagers who prefer to study at school or outside their homes. This may not be conducive during this circuit breaker period. In these instances, parents can help set up an area at home that is conducive for them to learn and interact with their classmates online. This could be at the dining table or moving the study desk into their rooms if necessary.
While it is not recommended for the study space to be the same as where your child sleeps, space constrains as well as the number of occupancy in the family may make it impossible. If that is the case, just ensure that the learning area is conducive for your teen’s HBL sessions with minimal distractions.
2. Digital Readiness
Children of this generation are quite tech-savvy. Do confirm with them that they have the passwords and know how to access the online portals such as Student Learning Space (SLS) their schools will be using.
Check that your child knows the schedule (for example, what time to log in) and has all the materials needed to complete his/her work.
Show them how to use digital shortcuts like bookmarking important documents or creating folders to park their electronic learning materials for easy retrieval at a later date.
Remind them to make notes or list questions that arise during HBL sessions. Help them organize the notes by subjects (if they do not already know it) and remind them to clarify any questions with their teachers back in school or over e-consultation time. Share this effective note-making techniques post with your child.
3. Agree on a Structure
Help them to establish a clear routine of the pockets of time during the day: “school” time, “recess/break” time, “recreation” time etc.
Mealtimes each day may differ depending on their HBL learning schedules with individual teachers. Prepare nourishing meals and healthy snacks for your teenagers to ensure they remain in the pink of health.
Many parents struggle with their teens’ recreational time on their digital gadgets. With everyone spending time at home, this is a wonderful opportunity to discuss how much time they can spend online and their digital behavior.
4. Check-in With Your Children or Teenagers Regularly
Your children may have concerns or struggles they are not conscious or aware of. Check-in with them on their HBL experience. Ask about their day, and if they had any difficulties or challenges with their HBL experience. Inquire if there is anything you can help with regards to their learning space or routine.
Teenagers are used to having their time away from their parents during school days. They might be sensitive with parents hovering over them and feel a bit cooped up at home. Do give them some space and time to adapt to the measures imposed during the circuit breaker period and the sudden loss of teenage freedom.
Have a conversation with your teenager about the COVID-19 situation and how they feel about it. Students who are sitting for milestone exams (PSLE, O-levels, and A-levels) at the end of the year may have anxieties over the uncertain future or preparation angst. Reassure your children that it is alright to not have all the answers now and to affirm their resilience and ability to adapt to the new study routine.
5. Remind your Child to Stay at Home
Sometimes our teenagers just need to stretch their legs. If possible, go outdoors for walks or exercise with your youth. Allow them to release some energy but ensure they keep clear of crowds.
For working parents, do remind your child to stay at home, so that he/she can remain safe, minimize any exposure to the coronavirus, and practice social responsibility. Specifically:
• Remain at home as much as possible
• Minimize visitors to the house
• Minimize time spent in public places and contact with others
• Monitor his/her health and temperature
• Follow his/her HBL plan closely to continue with learning
Stay safe and healthy everyone.