HBL is not for everyone

My son’s Math teacher has been texting me the past few days. Some days, she texts me multiple times. Mainly it’s about him not submitting his work on time. Or that she had asked him to go on a 1-1 video call to help him with his worksheets, but he doesn’t reply.

From what I understand, the role of the parent is to ensure they get online. We are not expected to take over the teaching.

However, I’ve found one other problem with HBL.

We, the parents, are expected to make sure they COMPLETE their work and submit it on time.

For Kate, at the P2 level, that is quite a hassle, but because we know teachers are doing their best to make this remote learning work, we try to do our part to cooperate, acknowledge and support them.

It’s also a steep learning curve for us, getting onto the different platforms, downloading / uploading assignments, to-ing and fro-ing with her teachers to overcome technical issues. She can handle most of her work independently, and where she is stuck, we are able to guide her and she is on top of all her work.

But for my teenage son, the type who belongs under the unmotivated category, various choke points prevent that from happening successfully.

When they are physically in school, teachers can find different ways to explain concepts to them, nag at them, make them stay back during recess or after school to complete their work.

Now that they are a screen away, when they can’t understand what is taught or can’t be bothered, they switch off (literally even). My teacher friends joke that they wish they could reach in through the screens and shake these teens.

But since they can’t do that, they have to politely rally the help of the parents.

So here’s how it plays out.

I’m working on my laptop and my phone keeps beeping. I wish Mdm Teacher could sort it out directly with my son. But no. He is not responding to her texts.

I storm into his room, demanding to know why his work was not submitted on time.

He shows me his SLS portal. So many items under the “in progress” column! With 8 subjects and various tasks tied to each, and some from the days before, it was a complete mess.

I went through each one, and there seemed to be all sorts of hurdles hindering completion.

But the problem that is HARDEST to deal with is this.

“I don’t know how to do it. And I also don’t feel like doing it.”

What do you do with an unmotivated HBL student?

From the experience of my other 4 kids during their secondary school years, among their 8 subjects, they would have a couple of favourite subjects as well as those they find boring, irrelevant or just plain difficult.

I feel bad that his teacher is trying so hard to help and to ensure that his work is up to speed, yet I’m at a loss at how to get him to complete his work. And I’m drained and frustrated from having to nag and yell at him daily about his homework.

Kate heard all of that noise and sprung into action.

After I left my son’s room, she said, “Mum, I have a surprise for you.”

She led me to the table.

“What’s this, Kate?”

Since I can’t make a real meal for you, I drew you my best meal to cheer you up! I know gor gor always makes you frustrated so I wanted to make you less stressed.

Haha, I burst out laughing! She’s such a darling indeed.

Kate’s surprise meal

I told Mdm Teacher that I absolutely appreciate her going out of her way to help him, but at this point in time, many of us are working round the clock, either in essential services or struggling to keep businesses afloat, figuring out how to move our businesses online, settling our foreign worker issues, supply chain problems and having younger children to manage. Chasing our teens to finish Math sums is the last thing on our minds right now.

We are not superhuman, and neither do we expect our teachers to be.

They are already overworked in a normal school year, and many of them have readily stepped up and have been working late into the night to get this out. It is a lot to ask of them to keep this momentum going for the rest of the month, especially for those who have their own young kids to take care of.

In a perfect world, every student is self-motivated, organised, and smart enough to understand everything that is taught. But alas!

I asked her to please give me the right email, and I wrote in to his school explaining how I was extremely grateful for such a dedicated teacher but there are a lot more pressing issues on our plates right now than him falling behind in 1 subject for this month and both he and I will take full responsibility for his incomplete work during HBL. After this episode, I will find him a tutor if need be.

So the daily texts have stopped, and I breathe a sigh of relief.

Let’s do what we can, but we have to adjust our expectations.

I really hope all the Mdm Teachers out there can stop worrying late into the night as they look aghast at the longer and longer rows of INCOMPLETE tasks flagged out on SLS. And instead, have some time to focus on their own families, providing them the needed stability and sanity to ride through this time.

I know it means a lot of catching up to do next time.

And yes, productivity and excellence are important.

But right now, the mental health of all of us, is most important.

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

First SARS, now Covid?

The year was 2002.

The hubs and I were in our 20s and we started our own business as I wanted to help women who were facing weight issues. I was working as an Occupational Therapist in a slimming centre and was dismayed to see unprincipled practices and wanted to do better. I had big dreams.

Shortly after we opened, SARS struck.

It was a surreal time. The streets were deserted. One by one, F&B outlets around us started closing down. Nobody dared to come into contact with others.

We held on, but our business bled for months. We had zero customers and high overheads to pay. Slowly, the cases subsided and the customers started trickling back.

Soon it became inevitable that we had to shut down to prevent further losses. We gave our customers ample time to finish utilising their packages and closed on a clean note. They were so kind and tried to help our staff look for new jobs.

In an instant, our lives were shattered.

From dreams of a better life for our family and goals to do our part for society, we were penniless, jobless, faced with huge loans and 3 young children to raise.

We couldn’t afford their preschool fees and transferred them to a church-based kindergarten. We stopped their enrichment classes like art, swimming and dance. We couldn’t even afford to go out, let alone buy toys or have meals at restaurants. Our in-laws ensured that the freezer was stocked with basic food so that the children did not go hungry. Necessities like diapers, milk powder, shampoo had to be bought via credit and those amounts ballooned. Our parents had loaned us money to start the company and we could not ask for a cent more. We couldn’t even tell them how bad things were because they would be worried sick.

It was a depressing time. The marriage almost didn’t survive. We were yelling at each other constantly, figuring out how to save the business, and when the credit card companies harrass you daily, you are not in a stable state of mind.

Yet, you had to be strong. You couldn’t break down in front of the kids because it was hard enough on them having to adjust to the situation where what was once normal had all been stripped away. Not even the comfort of going to the same school, having the company of their teachers and friends. No going out. No extras from the supermarket like snacks or ice cream.

You are emotionally depleted and too exhausted to do anything.

I can understand why people would be pushed to attempt suicide. Drowning under the weight of your worries and seeing no way out, some days you hit rock bottom and wish that all this suffering could just disappear.

I met a neighbour, an angel almost, and the comfort of having someone to talk to, who checked in on you daily, a person who cared, made all the difference.

It took us years to pick up the pieces.

You become resilient from experiences like these.

When Covid-19 hit, I was stunned. How could anyone be so unlucky?

I was so scarred by that first business that I never expected to start another.

Somehow, one thing led to another.

I met a speech pathologist who ran a programme I was extremely impressed with. We had dreams of building a generation of resilient children and helping families to understand and manage their children better.

We started from one room in her existing company, and by word of mouth, kept growing until we needed to expand to our own premise.

With our own space, we had high operational costs to bear, renovation loans to clear, rental, staff, marketing and many other costs. We worked hard with our dream team of educators who shared our vision.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone starts a business with the purpose of making tons of money. Sometimes, it’s a dream that propels you. And I know of many other small business owners who are just as passionate.

When news broke that all enrichment centres had to be suspended for at least a month, we reeled from the sudden notice.

The scary memories came flooding back.

After the shock, I managed to stay calm. This time around, I have not been crippled by the emotional turmoil or intense fear, possibly because I have gone through the whole trauma with SARS. I was able to adapt and adjust very quickly, to steer my team, and I kept my focus on spreading positivity and hope to others, and sharing practical ways to help them cope during this time.

A large part of being able to stay sane was because of the reassurance and financial aid given by our government.

The BIGGEST DIFFERENCE I’m witnessing with this pandemic is how much the government has stepped in to cushion the impact across the board, and just how MUCH reserves they have!

We are thankful that the government has thrown companies a lifeline by providing for 75% of local staff salaries and waiving foreign worker levies for the month of April.

But as business owners, we don’t get any wage assistance. Not only have many of us stopped drawing any income from February when businesses first got hit, we have to top up the shortfall for operating costs and foreign worker salaries. It is indeed worrying times for SMEs and it will be a downward spiral for many, with closure and retrenchment of staff as this prolongs.

With the economic fallout, we will start to witness the psychological impact on individuals and families.

There are pockets of individuals who may not look like they need help, but they do. There would also be those who miss out on getting adequate help.

Check on your friends, keep an ear out for your neighbours. Mental health issues and domestic violence are on the rise. The elderly may be isolated and unable to get their necessities or meals. Not everyone has family, and many families are dysfunctional. People may be under such tremendous stress they are not behaving rationally.

If you yourself need someone to talk to, don’t be afraid to open up to your friends. It’s hard to think straight when the clock is ticking and you don’t know how you are going to survive the next month. Give someone a call. It is not an embarrassment. It is courage. Even the strongest of us will buckle under the immense stress.

This situation has affected all of us. The difference is, to what extent?

When the rug is pulled from under your feet, you feel the pain. Your eyes start to be opened to another person hurting. If we can’t have empathy, perhaps we can start with tolerance. Seek to understand, to console and to give a helping hand.

Let’s spread hope, love and kindness, not negativity, fear or judgement.

We WILL get through this in the end.

But the true test of our communities is

HOW we got through this.

Will this pandemic bring out the best of humanity or shred it to pieces?

A Stay Home for Singapore portal has just been launched, where people can go to get help, give help, or stay connected. It has listings for counselling services, social services and more. An App called GoodHood has been created where you can offer or request help within your neighbourhood. Let’s all stand up and be counted!

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

Survival tips for Home Based Learning

After 2 weeks of LOA, this is what Home Based Learning (HBL) REALLY looks like.

In my previous post detailing Kate’s Week 1 of HBL, we started off excited, things were manageable and I had one very eager student.

However, things can slide downhill quite quickly.

Having your child at home 24/7 with you is no joke. I am SO glad the teens are in their “silent-ish” phase. Where we can have proper adult conversations, and they do their work independently. I would’ve gone mad with 6 kids chattering and bickering non-stop.

Retreat to your own space.

At times, I needed my own space, and had to hide in my room as I noticed myself being less present and patient with her. I told myself that I shouldn’t feel bad about it, and it doesn’t mean that I don’t love her or don’t enjoy her company.

If you are yelling at your kids more often, take a deep breath, and read how I did it all so wrong and perhaps you can learn from my experience.

I’ve also discovered the best place to hide when I’m about to lose my mind with the kids.

Your children may also need to have personal space if they are getting on each others’ nerves.

Remember that not only has the familiarity of their routines changed drastically but staying in a confined space with others (aka their siblings) without the break of going out and having separate activities would naturally put a strain on relationships.

Kate was so mad the other day and said, “I wish gor gor was not in our house!” I told her that family is where we learn to get better at things like patience, acceptance and love.

This period requires more understanding from everyone, and we can think of creative ways where they can take a break from one another. Maybe a quiet bedroom which they can take turns to be alone in, or stagger their naptime.

Several times, after getting off a meeting, I walk into the room expecting Kate to be doing her work but I catch her watching a movie instead!

When I scolded her, she sounded just as exasperated and said, “If you like to do Chinese so much, you can learn it yourself!”

To be fair, I wasn’t able to teach her Chinese effectively over the past 2 weeks and there was a lot of frustration.

Before you start panicking, HBL is slightly different from LOA because for the latter, teachers are busy teaching their students at school, thus parents have to take on more of the teaching to ensure their child catches up with the syllabus while at home on LOA.

For HBL during full school closure,

PARENTS are NOT EXPECTED to do the teaching.

Our role is to ensure that our kids are out of bed and in front of the computer, ready for class at the right time.

They should be able to manage what is expected of them independently, whether it is doing work assigned on SLS, eZhishi or watching videos to learn English or Math concepts.

Teachers are given flexibility in executing their online lessons, and bear in mind that they have had to prepare all of these in a short span of time, on top of their usual workload, so don’t compare, and don’t complain!

The reality is that even with them being IN SCHOOL, some kids still need additional help, that’s why parents send them for tuition right?

For example with Kate, she sounds like a bright child, but she struggles with Math. I have to break it down very simply and explain several times in different ways before she understands.

During school hours, teachers are just a message away on Dojo if your kids are stuck. I have seen my secondary school kids teachers’ being very communicative and they have created specific WA chat groups for the different subjects so that they can provide additional support as needed.
The biggest problem with Kate doing her work on a digital device is that when I am busy working, she slips into using it for games or watching youtube.

But I can’t really blame a 7-year old when the hubs can’t even control himself!

What worked for me is that instead of allowing her lessons to spill into the evenings, I get her to finish her online work within 3-4 hours in the morning, while I’m sitting next to her doing my own work, then I remove the gadget.

After lunch, we are free to engage in activities we enjoy! Even a 30-minute break to do something relaxing with her helps me take my mind off work.

They are allowed to watch a movie after dinner, and then straight to bed. This buys us time to put in a few more hours of work. Local businesses have taken a huge hit and it is a worrying and stressful time for many of us.

Figure out a schedule that works best for you and your family.

In the big scheme of things, what do we want our kids to remember of this time at home with the family?

That we did fun stuff together?

Or that mummy was yelling at me a lot, and it was the WORST TIME ever.

Let’s cut ourselves some slack. For the super mamas out there, if you’ve nailed this teach-your-child-from-home gig, I applaud you!

For me, I can’t teach my own children.

I’m going to flip the perspective and play to my strengths.

Instead of worrying that I won’t do a good job teaching Kate and feel that the whole day was disastrous, we will allocate the morning for academics.

For the rest of the day, this is an opportunity to teach her so much more about life.

To show her what adaptability, resourcefulness, and cheerfulness in bleak times looks like.

To embrace change and be flexible, and settle down to a new normal.

To stay resilient in the face of calamity, make the most of what we have, and look for the silver lining.

To focus on the heartwarming stories, of how people are looking beyond themselves to reach out to others in need. That we are one community, one humanity.

To model positivity and find little ways to support others and spread joy, not despair. To show her how faith can replace fear.

To take the inconveniences in our stride, that these little sacrifices for the common good are the least we can do.

To teach them to be grateful for all the people who are working long hours, pushing themselves past their limits in this fight.

To open our eyes to what this crisis can teach us.

I’m not going to judge myself nor my child on how well we are succeeding with HBL, but we are going to make this 30 days count!

We are going to do a RadiateJoyFromHome 30-day challenge.

To first find joy within ourselves even in the darkest times, and to spread hope and uplift others who are finding it hard to navigate this period.

Together, let’s radiate love and life from our homes.

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

Kate’s “homeschool” while on LOA

People ask me why I don’t homeschool my kids. I laugh that homeschooling is not for me.

AKA I cannot imagine being at home 24/7 with 6 little kids! I take my hats off to families who do that, and do that well!

Kate is on LOA because #1 came back from the UK last Saturday. I was prepared that all my kids had to stay home alongside #1 as she was on SHN. However, checks with the school deemed otherwise, and on Monday, when my older kids went to school and informed their teachers (perhaps they should sit 1m apart), the response was “No need to tell me about your sibling being on SHN”. Okk…

2 days later, new measures kicked in, and on Tuesday night, it was announced that preschool and primary school students would be placed on LOA if a member in the same household was on SHN.

Thus began my 8 days of homeschooling with one 7-year old student. Well, it’s actually not homeschooling but merely executing the lesson plans that their teachers have done up for us. I’m using the term homeschool really loosely – Kate calls it school at home run by mummy!

Here are 7 steps to help you along as Home Based Learning kicks in next week!


We set up a gmail account for Kate and she was all excited to await her home based learning (HBL) package. She kept refreshing her inbox!

We took it nice and easy and I had time to make her a wholesome lunch. Lots of veggies like broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes to boost her immunity, mixed with buckwheat and red quinoa grains, topped with cheese.

After lunch, still no email, so we got started by orientating her to what she calls “Mummy School”.

Step 1: Create a timetable

I asked her to list out all her subjects in school. She struck off CCE, PAL and social studies saying “these 3 no need, I will do them in school”. We added in a lunch break, snack break and fruit break.

Step 2: Set up Workspaces

Her room was the classroom, and I set up a desk next to hers so that I could do my work while supervising her. She decided to have her PE lesson in the living room with more space.

Healthy casserole

The time passed very quickly and you start to feel that nothing much has been accomplished! The HBL package had not come through. I can imagine the additional workload on their teachers and school administrators. A big thank you to all of them, working so tirelessly during this time to ensure learning goes on for those kept at home.

Her sister was back from school and I made them banana and mango smoothie with a sprinkle of chia seeds. Now is the time to ensure they get nutritious food, 8-10 hours of sleep and to stay relaxed and happy to keep their immunities strong. It’s a nice change to be home and have everyone back early from school.

Fruit break

Step 3: Teach them to google lessons independently

I checked if Kate knew how to google appropriate Art and PE lessons which she could do by herself. The more I set it right at the beginning, the less time I needed to spend to supervise her in the days to come.

She showed me a website Art for Kids Hub where she was learning how to draw cupcakes. She even motivated herself at the bottom of the page with “Awesome!! Keep up your beautiful drawing! ๐Ÿ™‚

Her fave subject

Step 4: Silent reading buys you time

Instead of letting her play games on her IPad, I told her it was time for 30 minutes of silent reading while I prepped dinner. As they now have access to a digital device, it is all too easy to switch into game mode if parents are not watching.

Finally, after dinner, we checked her email and YAY! Her HBL package had come in. Kate was so excited! We used her ipad, but the zip files could not be opened properly.

Her teacher called me after dinner to check if we could access it as some parents were having trouble. She would resend us another link tomorrow, and also reminded us that we had to take Kate’s temperature every morning and Dojo her before 8am.

I thanked her for her assistance and was deeply appreciative of how hard they are working to keep everything going.

It was bedtime for Kate and she was disappointed we didn’t get any work done, but I told her not to worry, it can flow into Saturday. We did manage some art, PE and got a system going. That was a great start!

Day 2: Thursday

9am: Wake up mummy!

Last night, after Kate went to bed, I carried on working late into the night to handle this sudden suspension of enrichment classes.

Kate said, “Daddy has prepared breakfast. And, my lessons are supposed to start now.”

Oh right. I’m the teacher. No more luxury of working till the wee hours of the morning in the wonderful silence and waking up late, knowing that my kids are being productive in school.

Again, silent words of gratitude sent to all teachers out there.

Step 5: Fine-tune timetable & be flexible

Kate is thrown off her schedule as we are behind by 2 hours. We need to re-adjust our time table! I instructed her to shift those classes that she can do on her own to the earlier morning slots. English, Math and Chinese will commence at the later part of the day.

After breakfast, I am ready to tackle this homeschooling business with gusto! However, even with the new link, certain parts couldn’t be opened on her ipad. No choice, I tried downloading it on my laptop.

Kate decided she would make better use of her time while waiting. “Mum you figure it out. I’ll start on my Art class ok?”

“Yes, perfect plan.”

After an hour of art, I still couldn’t retrieve the Math worksheets, and I couldn’t find the instructions for her Chinese. All this was in between me answering work texts and emails.

I asked her to start on her PE lesson first, via YouTube. Halfway through, her ipad ran out of battery. So, break time it was!

PE Lesson

The tricky bit is getting all the school materials ready to teach her.

Teaching wasn’t the difficult part because I could make time to teach her for 20 minutes, and give her time to do her own work while I did mine.

Step 6: Make time to Be Prepared First

What I needed was a good 3 hours to read through what I needed to teach her, download everything that was required to go with it, before embarking on the real teaching. It couldn’t be done while working from home and trying to multi-task.

That’s the problem.

Ok, we’re not going to give up or be defeated! I didn’t want to bother her teachers just yet until I’ve exhausted all possibilities. We’ll take a lunch break and try again later.

Lunch wasn’t quite ready but we had to get online at 1pm with my team of educators at TLE to trial our virtual classroom as all enrichment centres have been suspended.

We had fun playing games and trying different activities remotely from our own homes. Learning can go on even in tough times like this! After we logged off Kate said, “Is lunch ready? I’m starving!” It was almost 3pm and the teens started coming home. I spent the rest of the day fixing them food and catching up on my work.

Hopefully, we will get some work done tomorrow!

Virtual classroom at TLE

Day 3: Friday

Finally! We managed to get access to the files and links. Kate was overjoyed! She really loves the comfort of doing work.

Yesterday, MOE announced that from next week, students will stay at home and do HBL once a week.

This gradual induction, especially for lower primary students is definitely needed to ease them into online learning. There is no way that a P1, P2 or even P3 child is able to open all the files and teach themselves the syllabus. This transition gives parents time to put a decent plan into action, in the event that full school closure is implemented.

I can’t imagine a class of 40 messaging their teachers daily to ask for help. Piloting it for 1 day a week allows teachers time to sort out the kinks and make full transition a much smoother process.

By the time the hubs came home, I was exhausted from trying to multi-task – working from home while running Mummy School.

I’ve been blessed that Kate is an easy child to work with. She listens, is self-motivated and can focus.

But still, it was tough. It requires patience, discipline and structure. Plus practical things like a printer that hasn’t run out of ink, and devices that support the systems to be downloaded. I can foresee it being quite a challenge for some families and they would need a fair bit of assistance.

The hubs made a succulent steak and Kate exclaimed, “Yay, a proper dinner!”

Homecooked steak

Step 7: Stay Positive!

We always try to find the gift in every situation, and honestly, she has gained much through this experience. Many life skills and learning to take ownership of her learning path from a young age.

I was telling my teen, I’m glad I only have 1 kid to do this with! I would have lost it with 5 kids squabbling with one another throughout the day, and pressured to finish teaching them as per the lesson plan. I’m so glad it’s for a finite time, and I can put her back in school after 2 weeks.

We can only hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst.

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

5 things to do if your child is coming home from overseas

#1 is back home from the UK. Safe.

The figures of Covid-19 cases of returning Singaporeans, including overseas students are climbing as large numbers are returning home daily.

MOE and IHLs (Institutes of higher learning) made the decision to recall overseas students and for us parents, we are thankful that our government is doing all they can to bring them home quickly. The grandparents, grandaunts and elderly relatives are having sleepless nights worrying about them.

It seems like a wise decision to bring our families back as soon as possible because as the numbers escalate worldwide, the percentage of those exposed will keep multiplying.

Medical Clearance
In such an unprecedented, tumultuous time, while many things are beyond our control, we DO have a choice how we want to experience this chapter of our lives as history is being written.

Are we a people standing united? Gracious? Resilient? Or are we a complaining herd, only caring about our own needs and comfort?

We CAN make this BETTER for ourselves, our children, the people around us if we do these 5 things:

1. Be prepared for the unexpected

After stepping off the plane yesterday, all passengers on that SQ flight were subjected to a medical check. Besides having their temperature taken, they had to undergo a swab test where a long cotton bud looking stick was stuck up their nose to take a sample from their throat.

Yes, it was an uncomfortable procedure. But I’m relieved all passengers on her flight from London were tested for the virus.

With a full flight and only 1 doctor and an assisting nurse, it took almost 5 hours before she left the airport. The hubs was already at the airport waiting to pick her up, but she was the last in the queue as she was seated at the back of the plane.

There were adults complaining loudly at the inefficiency, of having to walk a long way to another medical station (perhaps the young people were venting via their phones) and I told #1 there was no point in getting frustrated but to make the most of the situation. She took out her laptop and worked on her assignments.

We can complain and get frustrated, or we can take it in our stride and deal with it in a calm and dignified manner.

Doctors, nurses and front line people have been working the hardest over the past months, and when directions come from the top, there will surely be logistics problems as systems are trying to cope with the fluidity of the changes.

Things are literally changing every moment as decisions have to be made as new information comes in.

Her friends who were not able to secure an SQ seat were put on a Swiss Air flight, and despite landing just hours after her, they did not get the swab test upon arrival.

We heard from students who had arrived today from London via SQ that the swab tests were not done on every single passenger, but on a random basis. 

Although the most prudent solution is to test EVERY SINGLE person returning from high risk countries, our resources are finite – test kits, labs, manpower, everything is stretched at the moment.

#1 was told that if she is tested positive, she will be called up within 4-6 hours.

It’s been more than 24 hours so no news is GREAT NEWS!!

Confined to her room

2. Better be safe than sorry

#1 is on Stay-Home Notice, which is one notch down from Quarantine order as she has not been in direct contact with a confirmed case. This means that she can’t leave the house for 14 days and should have limited contact with family members. However, with so many people in our household, and grandpa, we have decided to be extra cautious and to confine her in her own room which has an attached bathroom, even though her test result is negative.

We have heard that other students who were on SHN were moved to Quarantine status when a passenger on the same flight was tested positive.

Yes, it is more inconvenient for everyone, but in times like these, it is a small sacrifice to make and everyone has to step up to do their part to prevent community spread, which would be a devastating scenario with a spike in cases, inevitable deaths, streets emptying out, companies having to lay off employees and local businesses going bankrupt.

WE CANNOT LET OUR GUARD DOWN. If you are supposed to stay home, just stay home so that life can get on as normally as possible for the rest of the population.

Heathrow airport on 20 March

3. Now is the time to be SUPER KS

If there is one time our national DNA of being kiasu and kiasi should kick in, it is now. Knowing that young adults have a laissez-faire or bo chap attitude, I had to keep reminding #1 about personal hygiene.

I gave her 1 piece of advice.


Don’t touch anything you don’t need to, wash your hands constantly and before eating, tie up your hair so you don’t need to brush it off your face. Put extra pieces of kitchen towel in your pockets and use them for doorknobs of toilets and high touch surfaces.

Go to the airport extra early, about 1-2 hours before the usual 2 hour guideline as you have no idea what the queue would be like to check in. At this point in time, YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS YOUR FLIGHT.

#1 had an early morning flight and the airport was already crowded. It took her almost 2 hours to queue for check in, and it was time to walk straight through the packed airport to the departing gate.

4. Support your child and try to find the bright side

Kate was disappointed that she couldn’t go to the airport to pick her sister up as big jie jie had to sit in the back seat by herself.

She brightened up and said, “I’m going to make the best welcome home card I’ve ever made in my life!”

She wrote:

“I have been looking forward to see you! And now I can finally see you again! But the sad thing is, you will have to stay home for 14 days! But look at the bright side! You still will be home.”

It’s not easy for the students returning, as they have had their plans thwarted, dreams dashed, new friendships separated and opportunities vanished, all in an instant.

Provide a listening ear, be empathetic, give them leeway with things we parents may find hard to put up with, like their sleeping patterns, not packing up their luggage, having assignments due yet not getting on with it. They need some time to get over their jetlag, to adjust and process everything that has happened. Some of them are still feeling angry at their studies being cut short and having the “worse internships or exchange experience” they could have, as compared to their peers. Some are disappointed that this opportunity they have saved so long for, planned so thoroughly for has suddenly been taken away and their future plans look uncertain.

5. Monitor your child’s whereabouts

Our young adults have tasted full independence living abroad, and may not welcome their parents nosing around their lives. However, while the authorities are doing what they can by checking in on them via video call a few times a day, we should be vigilant as well. 

As parents, we need to do our part to ensure they do not leave the house, friends do not come over as no visitors are allowed, or worse, they should definitely not be out partying at night.

We are only as good as our weakest link.

Now is the time to be socially responsible. If everyone plays their part, we can get through this as best as possible.

Let’s stand united in solidarity, looking out for one another, being gracious and patient, lending a hand to those who are in need, showing kindness, uplifting one another. In past eras, during tough times, communities banded together.

What are we writing on the blank pages of our history books?

We can get through this. Together.

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

Does your child need help with Handwriting?

Handwriting is a crucial skill that is often overlooked. We are seeing poor handwriting in quite a lot of children. It doesn’t mean they are lazy or cannot be bothered. Like any other skill, it can be taught.

Why is handwriting important?

  1. It makes their work legible for their teachers, parents and friends.
  2. Children with poor handwriting may avoid writing and this sets up a negative cycle, which hinders learning.
  3. Some kids are not using the right grip to hold the pencil properly, which results in muscle fatigue.
  4. Teachers say that neat handwriting is usually a good predictor of a diligent student and it has a positive impact on grades.
  5. Practicing handwriting activates the brain more than using the keyboard.
Kate’s work

Once they enter P1, they are expected to write neatly and legibly. They have penmanship booklets at P1, but usually the writing habits which have been formed in preschool are harder to change compared to starting them off well.

If they don’t have an adequate foundation with proper spacing, keeping the words on the line, consistent letter size, it gets harder when they have to write without lines, or do work for long periods of time. Kate tells me that they have a lot of group work in school, and some classmates with untidy handwriting will ask others to do the writing. This sets up a negative cycle and may affect their self-esteem.

What is contributing to their poor handwriting?

1. Handwriting is not given much attention in a lot of preschools today as there are other things competing for time. Many children do not use the correct strokes for the formation of letters. In the absence of instruction, they simply look at the letters and try to copy it by making up their own strokes. A small “a” may be a circle with a line connected to the side.

Letter formation

2. Weak fine motor and gross motor skills
Handwriting requires the use of both fine motor and gross motor skills. As children are spending less time in physical activities, as well as being put in restraining chairs and strollers at a younger age, their overall muscles have less opportunities to be developed. Playground time is great for strengthening these muscles, by climbing, swinging from bars, and pushing their friends on the swing.

3. Gadgets are more prevalent in their lives
Before gadgets, children spent time colouring, doodling or writing. Now, much of their free hours are spent swiping screens. Practice makes perfect, given the right instructions on forming their letters properly.

Among my kids, there are great differences in their handwriting. I was too busy focusing on survival that I completely overlooked their handwriting. I left it to their preschools to teach them how to read and write.

My son has very untidy handwriting, and I received a text from his teacher recently. She informed me that his handwriting is getting worse because now they are expected to write long essays in Sec 2. Sometimes, his scrawls are hard to decipher and she’s concerned about his exam papers.

I had a talk with him, and he said he will try his best. Handwriting is much easier to correct when they are younger as the wrong letter patterns may become a strongly ingrained motor habit.

In our education system, having fast and legible handwriting is crucial as many tests and exams are based on written work.

My daughter has tiny slanted handwriting which was not corrected, and it gets tedious to read when she produces pages and pages of an essay argument. Despite being a straight A student, she always fails written interview essays.

In JC, she sat for the admission test for Linguistics which is via a written assessment. She failed that, but subsequently, topped her class in GP and Literature and her teacher said that if she had known of her calibre back then, she would have admitted her.

Truth is, the first impressions of your written work counts. Examiners have to pore through hundreds of exam papers, and although the content may be good, they have to decipher what is written.

Handwriting is something we should not neglect in our children. Some kids tell us “I don’t like to write” or “I don’t want to write”. Many parents lament that their kids have messy handwriting, but don’t know where to get help. Our children should not have to feel bad about their handwriting. All they need is proper instruction and lots of practice.

Let your preschool child join us this March holidays for a 2-day Handwriting Camp at The Little Executive where our educators will guide them patiently to improve their handwriting skills, in a fun and enjoyable setting.

Here’s the link for more information and to sign up. Don’t worry parents, help is at hand ๐Ÿ™‚

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

A SURPRISE note from my 7 year old

What a brilliant start to my day!

I woke up to find a note which Kate wrote at 6am before going up the school bus.

Dear Mum,

I know for at least 20 years you have been stressed.

But now that I’m alive, I’m here to help you.

So if you excuse me.

I have to leave.

Love Katie

WOW wow WOW.

So much in this tiny square of a message!

At the young age of 7, she has such great empathy. To be able to understand that it is tough to raise so many kids, and to want to do something about it to make things easier for me.

Well, I’m not sure how exactly she is planning to help, but that is besides the point.

Her willingness to want to help in whatever way she can, warms my heart.

Such brimming confidence, and feeling empowered that she CAN do something about it. You go girl!

Now that I’m alive, I’m here to help you.

That cracked me up.


This girl would certainly be living life with a purpose.

And she ended with 

So if you excuse me. I have to leave.

I was just imagining my tiny little girl, throwing her heavy backpack over her shoulders, boarding the bus with her mates, getting through her school day, and coming home to work on saving the day.

More than anything a mum could ask for.

I am indeed blessed.

About MummyWee

Michelle is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 6-turning-16 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in their 4Qs to survive today’s volatile world. She also makes time to volunteer with children and the elderly in her community.

Paul Immigrations Reviews: Singapore PR Experts

There is no doubt that I am proud to be a Singaporean, and having lived abroad for several years, I have come to appreciate my home country even more. The Little Red Dot is a world-class city to work, live and play in, and becoming a Permanent Resident (PR) is a clear choice for those looking to make Singapore their long-term home. More importantly, most families I have spoken to say that the biggest push for them to come to Singapore is the assurance of a safe environment to raise their family in.

Kate went to an international preschool for a year as I wanted to expose her to the diversity of different cultures from a young age. She mixed with friends from more than 40 different nationalities and both the kids and parents tell me how much they love it here!

There are so many family-friendly options for entertainment, from beautiful parks and playgrounds to a myriad of exciting events and a wide variety of cuisines from unbelievably cheap prices at our hawker centres to top-notch celebrity chefs to keep the entire family happy (and well-fed). They are appreciative of how safe Singapore is to raise their young ones, as compared to many other parts of the world.

After living in Singapore for a while, they start to consider the option of applying to be PRs as there are many benefits:

  • hospital subsidies
  • higher chances to gain access into our well-sought after local schools
  • higher priority to borrow various loans such as housing loans
  • eligibility to buy second-hand units of government HDB flats
  • freedom to travel to most countries in the world without the need for a visa
  • eligibility to apply for full Singapore Citizenship, with which you enjoy the same rights as locally-born citizens
Unfortunately, the process is rather complicated and applying for your PR status involves completing and preparing various forms and documents to be submitted online to be approved by the ICA authorities.

To begin with, the e-Service can be difficult to navigate, especially as a first-time applicant unfamiliar with the process. You may miss out submitting documents vital to your application. Such a mistake can potentially be costly to your prospect of gaining approval.

The ICA receives thousands of applications per year and approves less than half of them. It can be difficult to make yourself stand out from everyone else trying to make Singapore their permanent home. Besides the time and effort spent crafting your application, there is also a S$100 non-refundable processing fee payable at the point of submission. Further fees are also required upon new applications.

It is indeed a tedious process with an ever-decreasing rate of success to gain the coveted Permanent Residency status in Singapore. The number of documents required and the explanatory notes to be sieved through can be daunting especially if English is not your first language, and you may be unsure if you even fulfill the criteria to be a PR.

Paul Immigrations Reviews: Your One-Stop Immigrations Consultancy Firm

Thankfully, there are consultants such as Paul Immigrations who you can turn to for professional advice.

Paul Immigrations
Paul Immigrations is a one-stop immigrations consultancy firm that guides you, step-by-step, through your entire PR application process. With a strong record of helping over 15000+ customers, the firm has comprehensive knowledge and expertise of the entire application process.

The team is on hand to address all your uncertainties and concerns, helping you to consolidate the necessary documents and forms which improves your profile and chances of a successful application towards becoming a PR. They make what is a tedious and complicated process more straightforward and stress-free with these 6 steps:

STEP1 To start off the process, a consultant will help you to assess your chances of approval. As a foreigner, you may be eligible to apply for permanent residency if you are a/an:

  • Spouse of a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (PR)
  • Unmarried child aged below 21, either legally adopted by or born within the context of a legal marriage to a Singapore PR or Citizen
  • Aged parent of a Singapore Citizen
  • Holder of an Employment Pass or S Pass
  • Student studying in Singapore
  • Foreign investor in Singapore

Your consultant will offer a meticulous eligibility assessment to ensure you meet the requirements meted out by the ICA. This is done via a telephone call.

STEP 2 If all sounds good, this will be followed by an in-person appointment. They are conveniently located at Suntec Tower 2. A sales representative will review your profile to assess the likelihood of your application to be approved. At this juncture, you can decide if you would like the team’s help to improve your chances of a successful application.

STEP 3 Thereafter, your consultant will guide you through the process of submitting your documents. This is the difficult part. The various types of documents that are required to be presented can make the whole process tiresome and frustrating, and just one mistake can invalidate your entire submission. The experienced team takes this off your hands and ensures you do not miss any important documents or other pertinent information.

STEP 4 A crucial aspect of their service is the actual completion of the PR application form. This is a long document that takes hours to fill. The team helps to ease this burden by completing the form based on the information extracted from your documents. Paperwork aside, it can be difficult to craft an application that stands out. The team works with you to draw out the best, garnered through years of expertise and insight into the stringent process. Furthermore, they make the effort to go the extra mile by including personalised cover letters that highlight your strengths to help you stand out in the best way, all written and prepared by their team of professional writers.

STEP 5  Finally, the application form and your documents are ready for submission. You may opt to submit them on your own remotely, with guidance over the phone, or choose to schedule an in-person appointment with them after ensuring that everything is done properly. The entire process takes about one to two months.

STEP 6 The waiting time for ICA to assess each PR application is about four to six months. Some submissions take even longer, depending on the strength and validity of the submitted documents. To expedite this, the team ensures you submit only the necessary documents. Depending on whether the application is approved or not, your consultant will guide you on the next best course of action to take.
All in all, they offer a comprehensive service to simplify the arduous process of attaining the coveted PR status in Singapore. The team undertakes the brunt of the work to ensure your stress-free experience in building the strongest possible case for approval. They provide expert advice for all your doubts and they go above and beyond to ensure you stand out from the rest of the candidates.

These testimonies attest to their professionalism and success rate:
“So glad that I finally got my approval in 5 months! Thanks to the consultant and team of Paul Immigrations, the troublesome applying process is so much less stressful for me! Kudos to the team!” – Yap Khai Wei, 32

“The consultants at Paul Immigrations were very patient. They provided detailed explanations to my queries too. I’m so happy to have them handle my submission & even more so now that it is approved!” – Priya Darshini, 27

“Booked a consultation with Paul Immigrations after knowing about them from a friend who engaged their professional service. The process was so much easier than trying to do it on my own!” – Sandra Liu Hua, 35
It can be nothing short of a challenge to start a new life in a new country. However, you need not do this alone. Enjoy an effortless experience with Paul Immigrations and tap on their expertise to increase your prospects of approval.
Take the first step by assessing your eligibility now!
Paul Immigrations
Suntec Tower Two
9 Temasek Boulevard#13-01/02/03
Singapore 038989
Tel: +65 62066390
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

www.mummyweeblog: A blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore