SINGAPORE – It is not just my two older kids who enjoy their fortnightly home-based learning (HBL) day. I look forward to it too.

It is a chance for them to get two more hours of sleep and for me to have precious one-on-one time with each teenager.

Since their HBL sessions fall on different days and weeks, I’ve had one teenager at home with me once a week for the past year.

Sometimes, I’m not at home because I go out for interviews. But when I am, we get to have lunch together.

HBL days go something like this.

“Do you have a lot of homework today?” The answer is usually a yes for both kids.

They have different ways of managing their work.

My 16-year-old son in Secondary 4 may start his day with basketball in the morning.

“The courts are empty and the weather is good. Best time to play,” he says.

He has a shower before starting on his work and I don’t see him until he emerges from his room for water or toilet breaks.

He does not have Zoom lessons and neither does he have to check in with his teachers. I’m impressed that his school leaves them to “self-regulate”.

His work usually consists of assignments that can be done at his own pace. Sometimes, the work is given early, and he gets a head start on it the night before so that he has more time on HBL day for other activities.

The extra time came in useful when he was preparing for his piano examinations earlier this year.

On the other hand, my 13-year-old daughter in Secondary 1 usually gets her assignments in the morning when she logs on to Student Learning Space, a platform that schools use for teaching and learning.

She likes to get started once she wakes up, sometimes having her breakfast while checking out the day’s assignments.