When Life Gives you Lemons

Tell the Big Guy up there, \”Thank you for all your lemons and the people you sent to help me make lemonade, but that\’s enough for now. Enough lemons liao. I\’m about to puke from too many lemons. Amen.\”

Updates on HQO

A wonderful God-sent friend of mine escalated my dad\’s HQO situation to MSF and MOH, so immediately I got some calls today. I\’ll skip the details but the summary was:

1) My dad got ambulance-ed to some testing facility to get tested and ambulance-ed back. He sort of got told for going there without some major health problems but hey! He\’s scared ok. His throat has been scratchy for a while and tastebuds going a bit haywire. Like regular old people they just think they are \”heaty\” and keep cooking herbal tea to drink. Now that he\’s considered a close contact of a confirmed case he has reasons to worry right?

I told him it\’s ok. The medical personnels are probably very stretched and tired. At least he got tested. Can just put up with their nasty attitude for a while. It\’s understandable.

2) MSF called to understand my home situation. I told them about my 4 ASD kids and how locking up my dad in the storeroom is triggering them.

This is my \”storeroom\” cum helper\’s room.

It\’s actually rather spacious for a storage room, and it\’s airy enough for my helper. The room also doubles up as a \”decompression room\” for my ASD kids. Anytime they feel overwhelmed, upset or whatever that triggers them, they will go hide in the room and close the door for a while. When they are sufficiently calm they will emerge from the room and continue dealing with life\’s lemons.

So when my dad was in the room, the door is closed all the time. When the door is closed it usually means someone is having a meltdown and is sorting himself/herself out in the room, so when the door is closed permanently, it raises their stress level. Their panic room is also gone.

The good thing was it happened quite late last night so I only have to deal with a few incidents when they acted up because they are barred from the room.

3) MOH came and assessed my home to be unsuitable for proper quarantine and took my dad away. It was very frightening for me because I don\’t know where they are taking him to. There is this stress in me because I\’m sending my dad away to an unknown place and I don\’t know if I might cause him to catch something there. I\’m never going to live with it.

My dad checked in and sent me a few photos. Not supposed to tell me where he is but the place looks really good.

At least it\’s a huge upgrade from the storeroom and being locked in. They served him a very good dinner.

So it\’s like a mini-staycay for him. I thanked my friend profusely for escalating my situation to the right people. It\’s a huge load off my mind. Now all I have to do is to explain to my kids that Gramps is all right and staying in a nice place. 
One Complete Week of FHBL and WFH

I\’m going to give my candid opinions about FHBL work, my stress as a SPED parent and also how it affects me as a WFH teacher.

I am not an academic teacher, so I need not set any acad work for my students. I only need to work on video conferencing and keeping in touch with the students in my form class.

That frees up a significant amount of time for me to monitor my own children\’s work. Here is what they have been doing.

Kid 1

Kid 1 uses Google classroom as the main platform.

He has 4 different classes in the classroom itself, so he has to check 4 panels for different sets of homework.

Some homework will direct him to SLS, some will direct him to other sites, some will require him to do hardcopy of the work, then upload his work.

So in this case, he\’s supposed to do his mock paper booklet A, then FILL IN THE FORM which his teacher has created for his answers.

I want to take a moment to clap for the teacher.

He created a google form out of Science Booklet A. You know how many hours that took him? But it only takes my son 5 mins to fill in the answers for him. If you get a rascal who didn\’t bother, just anyhow click on any random answers to hand it in, that\’s it.

How else was the teacher supposed to mark his work? So I suppose his teacher will go through the papers via Zoom the next round.

So for Kid1, it\’s hard to monitor what he\’s doing and what he has completed. I\’ve been receiving texts from his teachers every day because he keeps missing out homework, probably on purpose. His excuse was there are too many platforms and within the platforms there are a lot of assignments. He\’s confused.

His father gave him a looooooooooooooooooooooong talk and we hope the confusion will stop next week. We have tried to monitor. Really tried. All the time when I checked it seemed like he had finished his work.

Sigh.

Kid 2

Her teachers also use a multitude of platforms similar to Kid 1 (same school).

So here\’s the thing, not a complaint but just saying how it can\’t work for my ASD+ADHD kid.

She got this wrong. It\’s a conceptual error which must be rectified ASAP or her entire chapter on Fractions will be screwed. 
But the limitations of HBL is that the teacher cannot correct this error. She can only wait until everyone has handed in. Click through their submitted work one by one before she can sieve out Kid2\’s problem. If they were in class, she would have walked around to check and rectified that immediately.
Marking is going to take up double the amount of time also, even though it\’s already self-marked in a way. The teacher still has to go through and see which child is having what problem and which question is wrong. 
So on my part as a parent, I have to log into all their accounts every day, look at their work, check on their mistakes, and then remediate immediately. Or they are going to get the next day\’s work wrong too. 
By the way, all 4 kids have their unique login IDs and passwords for DIFFERENT PLATFORMS. Kill me already.
With 3 weeks of FHBL, the teacher will have to teach new topics. How? Via pre-recorded lessons or youtube videos. This is wonderful for my kids because they fast forward to the end and proceed to the next segment. This is hell for me because I have to do the teaching myself. It\’s no longer a remediation session for them. It means I have to crack my head and become the subject teacher, think of how to teach a new concept as quickly as I can so that they can catch up with the school work.
Next problem with my kids.
No initiative. 

This is a cross platform assignment. Meaning they do 3 parts on SLS, then 3 parts somewhere else. A neurotypical child with initiative will realize part 4 and 5 are missing from this assignment. She will log in to google classroom to seek out the last 2 portions and do it.

Kid2 is ASD + ADHD. She\’s going to finish until part 3, and submit assignment. She\’s not going to remember the instructions given on Page 1 by the time she reaches section 3. So she missed out all the parts that are not listed in this assignment.

So if I didn\’t check, this assignment will be marked as complete in SLS, but actually it\’s incomplete. I have to check through EVERY *&#%^$(&@#^%$ assignment to see if she missed out any part.

Kid 3

She has to be spoonfed. She doesn\’t know how to log into SLS, can\’t be bothered to log in, and doesn\’t give two hoots about completing homework. She doesn\’t understand why she\’s being punished for incomplete homework because in the first place, she doesn\’t know how to check. Doesn\’t want to learn also.

So anyway. her school is on division. They are doing long division with remainders. Kid3 is totally lost. Doesn\’t know what is going on.

So I have to make scaffolding worksheets for her to help her catch up with the syllabus.

She\’s only at this stage. I\’m still teaching her this. But her online homework has gone to dividing 3-digit numbers with remainders.

We\’re extremely far behind. At this stage I\’m not expecting her to pass PSLE, but it doesn\’t mean I give up completely. I still have to teach her something. So i\’m cracking my brains trying to get through to her with trial and error methods.

Here\’s her one of her English homework. Visual Stimulus.

She\’s supposed to compare the two visual information and answer the question. If this was printed out on hardcopy, I would be able to do it with her via highlighting, comparing info etc etc.
This one, on this platform, requires her to scroll up and down, up and down without any form of highlighting to sieve out the info she needs etc. I also can\’t print this out coz no such option. Lol. It took me 15 mins just to make her sieve out one tedious piece of info and after that she was close to a meltdown. I stopped pushing her. Left this assignment as incomplete.
Kid 4
This joker, whines and whines and whines at doing work. P1 has a lot of fun and games. They seldom have homework. With FHBL he has homework EVERYDAY. He\’s like WHAT IS HAPPENING?!
His homework is weird too. Because P1 not supposed to have homework. A lot of classwork because fun and experential learning but without the classroom, they can\’t do that. 
Today he got this piece of homework, where he was supposed to look at a powerpoint and guess something. 

So here are his instructions.

Assuming he knows how to download the powerpoint into a folder and open it, he\’ll see this.

He\’s supposed to click the powerpoint, guess the answer himself, have fun and click next before the answer is revealed. All by himself.

I mean, I can understand that this will be a fun activity if the teacher does it in class. But how to do it alone?

So that fella just clicked through everything.

Then he got very angry because he got the answer wrong. He answered many paper clips, but the answer is some.

So he started arguing with me. HOW IS THIS SOME? THIS IS OBVIOUSLY MANY!

Sigh.

Then later on, after arguing to the point of tears with me (ASD for you, people), he has to write his answers in his writing book, take a picture, then upload the picture into SLS.

He asked me why can\’t he just type his answers inside?

I honestly don\’t know.

I tried to find his writing book without avail and I finally cannot take his whining anymore, so I told him, just go ahead and type your writing in. I don\’t care anymore.

After that, I found out that he has to take a picture of every page of his worksheet and upload into google classroom so that his poor teacher can download and mark.

So today Mr Rain and I took turns to take pictures of all his worksheets and upload them.

So because FHBL means each kid is supposed to be engaged with his/her own learning from 8 to 1.30pm (like regular school hours), it means by the time I go through every kid\’s work, remediate all their learning, it\’s dinner time.

I. Am. Exhausted.

All these, without my work factored in. If I am checking in with my class or troubleshooting for my students with their homework, there is no way I can monitor my own kids. So what about those parents who are working from home? Who are having teleconference the entire day? What about those essential workers who can\’t be home to monitor the kids?

I mean I can understand the initial anger from the parents and all, because I\’m having a crazy time myself. But if you take a closer look at whatever I have posted, do you know how many hours the teachers have put in coming up with these? They have kids who are dealing with FHBL too.

And that\’s not all.

At 2 plus in the afternoon, there\’s some urgent email coming in about generic passwords for kids. Mr Rain\’s school responded almost immediately, so they reset all my kids\’ passwords.

So I have to pull out my book of passwords and change ALL of Kid 1,2 and 4\’s passwords.

I\’m waiting for Kid3\’s school to text the change of passwords. Then I have to reset my own class\’s passwords after resetting their passwords for them the entire week.

Mr Rain decided to play Mario something with the kids today.

Kid3 is missing because she doesn\’t like group activities. She\’s in the decompression room drawing because Kid 1, 2 & 4 are trash-talking each other very loudly.

This summarizes my week of HBL. I will talk about living adjustments and household chores next week.

Hang in there, everyone.

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