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.

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