Helping Your Child with Home-Based Learning

Are you ready for your child’s learning experience to become more digitalised?

Home-based learning is here to stay, and it will soon become a regular part of the school term. Starting from the latter half of this year, home-based learning days will be implemented for secondary schools, junior colleges and the Millenia Institute, with hopes of a complete roll out of the scheme in all levels by 2022.

What’s the new scheme about, and what makes it different?

The new initiative is termed as “blended learning”, according to the announcement at the end of December last year by Education Minister Lawrence Wong. It aims to build on the progress that students have made during their home-based learning days last year, and wishes to encourage students to develop the mindsets and habits for self-directed and lifelong learning.

Previously, e-learning days were meant for students to stay home and fulfil their allocated lessons or homework. Now, under the new scheme, the school curriculum will be planned out to include home-based and in-school activities to allow students the flexibility of learning at their own pace. Plus, a student’s home-based learning day will also be less structured than a typical school day, so that students can manage their own learning schedules, or initiate additional learning outside of their curriculum.

What can we expect with blended learning for our children?

The nationwide rollout of home-based learning in April last year has provided many positive benefits, despite the challenges faced by teachers and students (and parents!) in the beginning. Teachers reported that participation rates among their students have gone up, and students enjoyed saving the time needed to travel to and from school. The students also use the extra time to pursue their own extracurricular activities and interests at home.

As more assessments and activities start to go online, we’ll need to help our child to adapt to this unprecedented transformation in their school experience, and to help them familiarise with it. While there are initiatives in place to provide a personal learning device to students, and lessons provided on cyber wellness and citizenship education, it might not be enough for some children who are not used to independent learning thus far.

Some children may feel uncomfortable when interacting with their teachers and peers through a screen, and thus find it harder to seek for help when they need it. Some may not be strong independent learners, especially in their own home where distractions could be aplenty. Our children may also find it difficult to navigate their learning platforms to find out the information and assessments that they need, and bombard their parents with questions out of frustration.

What can you do to help your child with blended learning?

For parents, and more so for those who are currently working from home, your child’s home-based learning experience can quickly become exasperating for you, and all the more so if your child faces many challenges during the process, especially on a busy work day. It may seem easier to simply take the reins of your child’s digital schooling experience by yourself, especially when home-based learning will only be conducted once every fortnight before your child goes back to school the next day. However, to this end, we must remember that this new mode of blended learning is ultimately to help our child towards self-directed learning for their future.

It’s important to exercise patience towards your child during the early stages of blended learning, and to help them understand why it’s a core part of their educational experience. In addition, while it’s good to monitor your child as they begin learning from home, do ensure that you’re not overmanaging them as they participate in their learning activities. This is so that they can feel confident in their own abilities, especially among their peers. Lastly, communication remains key in helping your child with the process. Discovering what works, or doesn’t work, can mean a huge difference for your child’s learning experience, especially in providing important feedback to their respective teachers.

Ultimately, as education starts to become more digitalised alongside everything else in our lives, the first hurdle is always the hardest to overcome. However, as John Updike once said, “You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it.” Similarly, our children are more than capable and quick to pick up these challenges as they appear, especially when it throws open the gates on how they’ll approach lifelong learning in the future.