I know why the local Homeschoolers were aghast at how the term \”homeschooling\” had been used loosely by parents who were coaching their kids at home.
Full Home Based Learning (FHBL) is NOTHING like the local Homeschooling scene.
I would like to take this opportunity to debunk some myths.
Myth #1 – Teachers do not need to school from 8/4 to 4/5, hence they are very free. Can focus on helping with their own kids\’ FHBL
Mr Rain and I are both teachers in the local mainstream school. Kid 1, 2 & 4 are in Mr Rain\’s school, Kid 3 is in mine. Mr Rain\’s P got to know that I\’m on medical leave from work so she excused Mr Rain from reporting to school today to help me out at home. If not, he would have to report to school today and tomorrow for this week.
If I weren\’t on medical leave, I would have to report to school for work tomorrow.
Myth #2 – Your kid is studying in your school. No sweat. You should know what is going on.
The night before, I looked through what the kids needed for HBL Day 1.
Kid1, Kid2 and Kid4 each received a printed handout consisting of a few pages from the P of their school explaining how the school is going to do HBL. They have their own timetable which looks like this.
They also received detailed instructions, complete with envelopes, on how to hand in their hard copy homework on specific dates.
Mr Rain and I spent about 5 minutes debating what his school meant by alternative methods of submitting their school work. He doesn\’t quite know even though he\’s working in the school because he doesn\’t teach lower primary. He told me to just follow the instructions of submission of whatever homework they receive in time to come.
Kid 3 received a different sort of timetable. She gets her schedule by the day.
So I could only prepare Kid 3\’s stuff ahead, while Kid 1, 2, 4\’s instructions will only come on D day at a certain timing.
Meanwhile, I had to install some new stuff.
HBL DAY 1 – 6.30am
I got up, cleaned up the study a little because Mr Rain has to zoom his students. I don\’t know if Kid 1,2 & 4 have to zoom their teachers or not. I also make myself put on a bra and wear decent clothes, combed my hair properly because I might appear in their live feeds.
I got the kids up, dressed them in decent-looking home clothes, and started setting up their computers for them. I asked Mr Rain to help them set up the Google Classroom because I have no idea what to do.
Only Kid 1 knows how to log in to Google Classroom on his own. Kid 2 needed some assistance, Kid 4 completely don\’t know what is going on. At this point of time, Kid 3 is still lazing in bed. She doesn\’t get the priority because she need not check in with her teachers, so I get a slight breather.
While Mr Rain is setting up, I went to prepare breakfast for everyone. Cut up pieces of bread for the kids so that they can eat it easily while doing work, and special coffee for Mr Rain and me.
Mr Rain is in the study with Kid 1 and Kid 2.
I am in the dining room with Kid 3 & 4.
All is good and calm.
Mr Rain starts his check-in with his students. Kid 1 & Kid 2 are playing roblox while waiting for their teachers to check-in with them because according to their timetable, their first lesson doesn\’t officially start until 0800hrs. 0745 – 0800 is check-in time with FTs so I shouldn\’t be asking them to start their work yet.
At this point of time, I would like to remind everyone that all 4 of my kids are diagnosed with ASD.
So I left the study room without yelling at Kid 1 & 2 because Mr Rain is already chatting with his students.
I got Kid 3 started on her offline work and I had to coach her because she is higher needs than her siblings. Kid 4 is playing roblox on his laptop, waiting for his teacher to check in.
His teacher called at 7.50am on my mobile phone to video chat with him. He was really happy to see his teacher. They spoke for about 2mins. Only then, he was ready to log into the SLS to start on his work for the day.
I continued coaching Kid 3.
\”Mom, my password is wrong.\”
Was explaining to Kid 3 halfway. \”Hang on.\”
Got Kid 3 to try to do the sum independently while I got up and walked around the dining table to sit with Kid 4 to solve his password problem.
Kid 3 finished the sum, stood up and walked away. \”Finish!\” she announced.
I settled Kid 4\’s password problem and was about to yell for Kid 3 to come back when I remembered Mr Rain\’s warning not to yell because he\’s online. So I got up and went to the bedroom to remove Kid 3 from the bed and return to the dining table to do the next sum.
\”I don\’t know which one to do,\” Kid 4 said.
I looked at his screen. He has tonnes of assigned homework.
When I looked carefully, I realised his teachers have assigned work for those on Leave of Absence last week to him as well. He doesn\’t understand what is T2W3 Day whatever. He doesn\’t even know which term which week this is. So I had to click the assignment for him.
After I clicked the right assignment for him, I walked into the bedroom to retrieve Kid 3 from her bed again.
When I exited from the room with Kid 3, Kid 4 asked, \”What is powerpoint slide?\”
I pulled out my weapon.
Warned Kid 3 to stay put while I helped Kid 4 download the powerpoint onto the laptop and opened it for him. He doesn\’t know how to navigate so had to teach him how to move the slides.
Kid 3 started drawing on her worksheet because she doesn\’t know what she\’s supposed to do.
After Kid 4 is ready to start navigating the ppt independently, I went to coach Kid 3 how to do the next sum.
While Kid 3 & 4 were doing their work independently, I went to the study to check on Kid 1 & 2.
Kid 1 and 2 were playing Roblox. Mr Rain was busy helping his student troubleshooting some technical issues. I walked up to Kid 2 and asked her what she\’s doing.
\”My teacher hasn\’t checked in with me.\”
\”Never mind. You can do your work while waiting for her to check-in.\”
\”But the timetable says we must check in first, besides, it\’s Mother Tongue now. I\’m exempted from Mother Tongue. I only start English at 0900.\”
I turned to Kid 1, who has now shown some situational awareness by tabbing out of his game to his whatsapp chat with his class.
\”How about you?\” I asked.
\”My teacher hasn\’t given instructions on what to do.\”
\”Log in to your SLS to check.\”
I walked out of the room, taking special effort to close the door gently despite the beast that was raging within me.
Kid 4 was watching TV and Kid 3 has gone back to the bedroom.
\”Why are you watching TV?\”
\”I finished reading the powerpoint slide.\”
\”Then do the worksheet!\”
\”I don\’t know what is Unit 6 Learning sheet 6.3.\”
I went to his bag to take the worksheet for him and gave it to him. 2 pages of 4 questions each. Then I went to the room to retrieve Kid 3 back to do the next sum. I just sat down to explain the sum…
\”Do the next activity.\”
\”I don\’t know what is next.\”
Coached Kid 3 and got up to help him click on the next activity. Reminded myself not to get angry because it\’s not his fault, really. His to-do list was too littered with other assignments that he need not do and he really doesn\’t know which one to do.
Oh. Chinese homework. Sigh. His application for exemption from Chinese is still processing so he still has to do Chinese homework even though he has completely no knowledge of the language.
I decided I\’m feeling quite drained, so I swopped their homework. I asked Kid 3 to do Kid 4\’s chinese, and Kid 4 to do Kid 3\’s math. Problem solved. For now.
I went to make myself another cup of coffee and sat on the kitchen floor to eat some breakfast. Made the mistake of checking my phone for whatsapp messages.
(Refer to Myth #1) Phone had about 83 new messages. Quite a significant number from my fellow mommy friends who needed to vent their anger to someone about HBL.
I ignored those and focused on my work messages.
\”….. urgent…please read email sent….\”
\”… we need to adhere to the latest instructions…\”
\”… come up with HBL package 3 in preparation and also explore some other ICT tools because the SLS is overloaded…\”
\”…need to report attendance of your class by 1pm…\”
Apparently MOE wants to know the class attendance, meaning how many students have logged in and started doing their work. There was a lot of debate online on how to do it effectively without calling the students to make their angry parents even angrier.
Already those who are in school are at the receiving end of an endless slew of angry phonecalls.
I tried to log into my work mail but the VPN was not working. We need to dial in to some secret network in order to access our secret work email. I was quite frantic because there were instructions for compliance by all and I couldn\’t access the mail.
Called up the tech hotline and managed to solve the problem. Could access the email and read the onslaught of super long and wordy emails. Cannot speed read because if I miss out a detail, my head will roll.
Doesn\’t matter if I\’m technically still on medical leave.
Settled my work issues. ALL my kids are playing by now. When I checked, Kid 2 hasn\’t done a single homework, Kid 1 has completed all his online homework in 15 mins, Kid 3 and Kid 4 stopped where I stopped with them. Mr Rain was still online with his students.
I decided to go lie down and watch the ceiling fan spin for a while.
Mr Rain came into the bedroom and asked, \”Are you cooking lunch? If not, I\’m going to get prata.\”
At this point of time, I wanted to ask him to go help himself with the contents in the toilet, but I held my tongue. He looked exhausted too.
\”No. Get prata for the kids too.\”
Work messages coming fast and furious. Decided to stop monitoring the kids and focus on my work. Redid 1 HBL package for PE because kids are not supposed to do exercise without adult supervision (?!) so I had to modify my previous lesson. Then did another new one.
Restarted my monitoring while doing my work. Couldn\’t get Mr Rain to help because he was snoring in bed after his prata. But it also means I can start waving my cane, yelling and spewing profanities without the fear of embarrassing him.
Finally finished all HBL homework with all the kids at 4.15pm, only to find out from my friend that I gave Kid 3 the wrong HBL math homework to do. Never mind. I\’ll let her do it this Friday. Thank God for Good Friday.
Kid 2 came to tell me she was having a headache from doing too much work. I checked her temperature.
The husband goes to work tomorrow.
Hopefully, I\’ll have an easier time because I can walk around with the cane and yell at the kids, WHILE doing my school work from home.
I quote Mr Rain, \”Once everyone settles into the routine, it\’ll be easier. The start of every change is always hard.\”