| On 1 year ago

Ranked — Part 2: 10 Most Ridiculous Parents’ Comments On MOE Bringing School Holidays Forward

It is 21 April 2020, at 5 PM, Prime Minister Lee announced the extension of the strict circuit breaker measures. At 6 PM, Ministry of Health announced that they would be staggering entries to four wet markets, dependent on one’s NRIC number and at 9 PM, the Ministry of Education (MOE), announced its plan on bringing forward the typical June holidays to 5 May 2020, with the break ending on 1 June 2020.

This would result in a longer Term 3 and would apply to MOE kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, Pre-University students, and students from Special Education schools. Institutes of higher learning such as ITEs, Polytechnics and Universities will continue with full Home-Based Learning (HBL) following 5 May 2020.

Once again in my curiosity, I decided to take a dive into the comment thread of MOE’s Facebook announcement post, to see if the same parents who originally wanted school holidays brought forward were singing the same tune, two weeks into HBL.

Boy, did I get more than what I was looking for. Since we’re going to be stuck at home for another four weeks, let me bring you another instalment of ‘ridiculous comments made by parents’ this time on MOE bringing school holidays forward, for your extended circuit breaker enjoyment!

1. Because not being able to go out discounts the school holiday experience… take a seat OP

Alright OP, I hear you, I truly do. I cannot imagine being of school age and not understanding why I cannot leave the house during my school holidays. But in case you haven’t kept up, the rest of the nation is stuck at home too. Everyone’s overseas holiday plans are cancelled and are unable to see family members and friends, I think if you took the time to explain to your children the severity of COVID-19, they would understand.

Now to address the problem of this comment, not only is bringing school holidays forward the right move, but it is also the most logical move. Should COVID-19 force us to stay home for the rest of the year, school holidays being brought forward will not only give educators more time for the preparation of HBL materials but also give them time to process the mad rush that was the initial swift adaptation of HBL.

Our educators are the ones that help shape the minds of the future, and for them to be at their best, they need to rest.

2. “aNtItHeSiS”

First and foremost, I must make my love for big words clear—‘antithesis’, defined as the direct opposite of what is meant to be. And yes indeed, not being able to leave the house or travel during the extended circuit breaker measures is quite the opposite of a holiday. But given the current state of the world, with the pandemic going about, I think travel would be the last thing on anyone’s mind.

Dear commenter, what are you actually frustrated by? Being distracted by your children while working from home? Frustrated with the fact that they don’t even have HBL to occupy some of their attention? We are all going through these trying times together as a nation, I’m not saying that your frustrations are not valid, I’m saying perhaps seek solidarity and set up video-call playdates with other parents to occupy your children’s attention as you work.

Or, would it make you feel better if MOE changed it from ‘School Holiday’ to ‘School Break’?

3. How do I occupy my children?

We really do like to get hung up over formalities, do we? If there can only be one take away parents get from these circuit breaker measures, I hope it’s the fact that they will not take educators and schools for granted ever again. The recurring theme of this comment thread once again revolves around how to keep a child occupied while cooped inside.

To deprive a child of outdoor activities is painful but necessary given the ease of COVID-19 transmission. So get your child some colouring books from online retailers, or let them watch some good ol’ fashioned television. Take this time as a challenge on the ways you can keep your child entertained, bond with them, speak to them, get to know them. Preadolescence is arguably one of the most impactful times of a child’s growth journey. Believe it or not, that one thing that you said out of anger or that quick dismissal of your child’s complaint might stick with them till adulthood. Trust me, I would know.

4. How to survive???

Do you know what is pathetic? That we don’t know how to follow basic instructions and keep to social distancing measures resulting in an extension of the circuit breaker measures. Some parents complain that bringing the school holiday’s forward will leave their children bored, while some complain about having too much homework.

I guess you’re unaware but you can in fact have fun while at home. Let your children listen to audiobooks or watch television. As for exercise, you can simply google ‘children exercises’ and spend time with your child as you guide them through the workout. In the end, your children are your responsibility. It is on you to keep them occupied while working from home.

5. Paranoid???

Now, this comment has left me confused. As an adjective, to be paranoid suggests that one is worried or nervous for they believe that they are not liked or will be harmed by others. What are you kids fearful of? Testing positive for COVID-19? Or do they have cabin fever like the rest of the nation?

If your children are fearful about the novel coronavirus, it is up to you to quell them of their fears. Educate them on socially responsible habits such as social distancing and wearing a mask when they leave the house. Teach them how to wash their hands effectively and assure them that like most pandemics, this too shall pass. It is important to show a resilient front for your children to mirror so they know that as long as they do the socially responsible thing, they have nothing to fear.

6. To be human is to adapt and move on

I’m sorry dear parent that MOE did what it thought was the best course of action given the extended circuit breaker measures. This would be a very valuable lesson your children will get to learn—that unpredictability is part of life and just when one would get comfortable with the way of things, life has a funny way of challenging us at the worst of times. We all can take this chance now to reflect on how privileged and lucky we are as a nation, with our government doing its best to deal with these unprecedented times.

Children have the brightest and most resilient minds (unlike some parents here), I’m sure with some guidance, should HBL continue after the school holidays, they would be able to adapt seamlessly to HBL once again.

7. Let me teach you how to relax and socialise

If your child did not know that the internet existed before HBL, they definitely would be quite familiar with its existence now. Yes, given the state of the world right now, to be able to socialise or relax has proved quite challenging to do. But I’m confident that your child probably does not have the same socialising and relaxation needs as you, so why don’t you sit down with your kid and ask what you can do for them to relax at home.

In terms of socialising, if you don’t want your child to stare at a screen and use the internet so much, give them the luxury of having long phone calls with friends.

Remember the initial purpose of the invention of the phone? Yes, to communicate. Some of my fondest memories as a child include those of long chats with classmates over the house phone.

8. Because schedules cannot be fixed

Indeed, bringing forward a school holiday will mess up a child and a parent’s schedule. But guess what? The rest of the world’s schedule’s messed up by this pandemic as well. To be a bit meta, think about it this way, if everyone’s schedule is messed up, is anyone’s schedule truly messed up?

And schedules, believe it or not, can indeed be fixed! Bet that was a shocker to find out. I seriously doubt that one single school holiday brought forward will cause enormous trauma to your child’s educational circadian rhythm. May this be a lesson on you and your kid on how to adapt to changes.

9. Ok, can.

So will the rest of the student population. I doubt schools will be that unreasonable about hair lengths should they be able to re-open after the extended circuit breaker measures. If you’re that worried about your child getting chastised for having inappropriate hair length on the first day back at school, I urge you to contact their form teacher and explain the situation.

Or, you could employ a new skill that would save you money in the long run—cut your child’s own hair, and if the cut turns out bad, no worries for your child need not fear embarrassment as they’ll be home anyway. I cannot believe that this is an actual comment, Singaporean parents never cease to amaze me with the things that go past their brain-to-comment filter.

10. How to cure boredom 101

Yes! Life is way more important than boredom. If you are spent out of your wits thinking of ways to keep your child entertained during this school holidays, online tuition does indeed sound very viable. Not only will you get them out of your hair, but they’ll also be able to acquire knowledge without leaving the confines of your home.

Tuition is not cheap, and I can only imagine online tuition being a hot commodity now—if you can’t throw your kids at school teachers to keep them occupied, thank goodness you can pay someone else to occupy their attention.

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