Help your children stay switched on with a wide range of virtual learning opportunities.
Schools have resumed online learning in Hong Kong and there was a huge sigh of relief recently when the EDB announced that face-to-face classes will resume by month-end. However, there is a sense of deja vu amongst parents and if (and when) a fourth wave of COVID-19 hits, there could be a return to online learning later on in the academic year. To be prepared, most parents are looking for good remote learning opportunities – classes and tutors to help with studies, school lessons and homework and also, online extracurricular activities that won’t get disrupted as the pandemic situation changes.
We have compiled some of the best online learning centres and programmes that offer lessons to your child in order to help them explore their hobbies and areas of interest, as well as others that can help with schoolwork. What parents will be pleased to note is that Hong Kong school students are getting a head start in the university way of teaching, where a majority of the learning will be done outside the classrooms and lecture halls. They are also being given time to explore personal projects, get certified in new skills and create learning schedules that are better suited to their needs. So here’s where to get them the best online learning help – for studies and extracurricular interests.
Online Extracurricular Activities
The Metropolis Museum opened in Hong Kong with a mission to promote classical Western art and make it more accessible to children and their parents. The sprawling space makes it the ideal centre for extracurricular activities focusing on subjects such as Arts, Biology and Nature, Culture and Language, as well as Playgroups and Field Trips for kids of different ages. The Metropolis Museum believes that its approach of connecting academic lessons with social interaction helps children to develop inquisitive minds, critical thinking and a high EQ. Due to the current pandemic, Metropolis Museum Kids has cleverly adapted all of these (other than playgroups and field trips, though it is still conducting small-group nature walks) into online extracurricular and after-school activities via Zoom.
You can sign up your little ones for these classes, including storytelling for 2 years and up. Classes are in English or bilingual (English + Mandarin). There are also online Art Talks where children can connect in little groups to discover and discuss a masterpiece from an artist deceased or living. Metropolis Museum believes that these social interactions (albeit online) help children develop inquisitive minds, critical thinking and a high EQ. To register for any of these online activities, download and sign into the Metropolis Museum app and get 10% off all classes for two weeks (Monday, 7 to Monday, 21 September 2020).
Sassy Mama readers who sign up for one class get 50% off the second one. Don’t forget to quote this article to claim your refund!
Want to improve your children’s confidence, communication and thinking? By learning the art of debate along with creative and critical writing, they’ll be given the opportunity to finesse their public and persuasive speaking and develop core life skills to help them succeed both now and in the future. Future Leaders Academy (FLA)’s proven debate, public speaking and writing programmes (for ages 6 to 14+ years) are now also available online.
At FLA, your children will have the unique chance to participate in both local and international competitions for debate and public speaking as well as writing — all skills that will set them up for success later in life. Don’t worry, they won’t be thrown in the deep end! FLA uses proven pedagogy along with real-world corporate experience to help learners of different abilities develop their skills with conviction. Teams are now preparing for the upcoming academic year so it’s the perfect time to enrol your aspiring young learners.
Use code FLA-SASSY for 10% off your first month as a new student.
Online Music Classes
Music is one of those extracurricular activities that can easily be adapted to the online medium, provided that your children have their own instrument at home (so perhaps not beginners?). As we are all being cautious about getting out and about, we have a few extra hours with time saved not travelling. It’s a great time for children to get in those extra practice hours on their instruments which are otherwise hard to fit in during the school year. Just make sure your kid’s practice doesn’t coincide with your own conference calls – unless you want some background music in your meetings!
MusicSage is an online platform that helps match your child with a suitable music tutor. It offers private lessons in-person and online for violin, piano, flute and many other instruments. Hourly rates range from $250 (for student teachers) to $1,000 an hour (for teachers who have experience performing in the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra).
Teresa Wong is a superstar piano teacher. She has adapted quickly to the online teaching demands and offers different ways for students to be taught (including real-time sessions over FaceTime or Skype and video consultations via email). She also offers mock music exams. Her price ranges from $600 to $1,500 per hour depending on the level and type of consultation.
Online Science & Coding Classes
This science class provider has quickly adapted to the world of remote learning. It offers online classes for kids 4 years and above. The team sends a list of simple materials easily found at home to parents and teaches children simple science concepts using these. There are both morning and afternoon slots of the online classes ($100 per 30-minute class) or small-group private classes for $850 per hour.
One of the best ways to enhance a child’s future is to give them the opportunity to learn how to code. First Code Academy has moved completely online to offer 1:1 coding classes for children 5 years and up, tailor-making the curriculum roadmap based on your child’s interest, levels, and long term goals.
Cobo Academy also offers online courses to expose your child to coding. Its courses span a large variety of age groups and boast of a flexible schedule. Courses are around $240 to $300 per hour depending on the topic.
Another option worth checking out is Code Camp from Australia. In response to COVID-19, it has scrapped its subscription fees and is allowing free access to its coding software. Children from all over the world can learn to code following its step-by-step instructions on how to build apps and games.
Online Study Classes
Extracurricular and after-school activities apart, a lot of routine schoolwork and learning is now shifting online. These are some of the virtual classes that you could sign your kids up for subject-specific studies, to get help with homework or even just to give your academically-oriented child more of a challenge.
Have an early years learner at home, but worried about sending them out to school given the current pandemic situation? Kïdo Home has launched as a complete online preschool where little ones can now have a year-round high-calibre preschool experience for two hours a day for $3,200 a month. As part of the programme, parents will only need to have a spare tablet, laptop or desktop and Kïdo will send monthly engagement kits for children to work on at home. Kids receive seven home activities per week covering important education areas including literacy, art, STEM and physical development, along with online videos. The programme also includes two options for Mandarin lessons – a class for native speakers taught in Mandarin and a foreign language class with English used for support. Kido Home is brought to you by the same people who run Safari Kid International, so you can be assured of their preschool teaching pedigree.
Kido Home, www.kidohome.net
Learnlex is a new-generation eLearning platform that strives to develop unique teaching & learning materials for parents and students. It offers MAD Maths & Problem-Solving Training that can strengthen students’ reasoning, logic and integration skills. Combined with AI artificial intelligence developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, MAD provides students and parents with a one-stop-shop of detailed analysis and learning modules. It claims to have more than 100,000 registered users and 400 participating schools and is expecting continuous growth as more learning resources roll out! The learning plans start at $980 for a full-year subscription.
Online Language Learning
Although teachers may be giving homework related to the students’ language studies, it could be beneficial to have additional communication practice so that they are better equipped to speak when they return to in-person classes. This is even more important if you don’t speak the language they are learning in school at home yourself. As your children learn to speak to people from outside the family, it helps enhance their communication skills (giving you time to also call and communicate with people outside your house as well).
Mulberry House Asia offers one-on-one online Mandarin immersion classes for students aged 3 to 8 years. The lessons include interactive reading, music and games that can supplement your child’s home learning materials. The teachers can support your child’s homework and answer questions. Classes are available in 40-minute or 60-minute sessions. Prices range from $400 to $500 per class.
Berlitz is recognised around the world. It has an effective curriculum and is offering all of their normal classes (English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, among other languages) online at the moment. These aren’t specifically for children but it’s easy to find a pace and level to suit your little linguist.
British Tutors offers online tuition for students in Hong Kong and Singapore. Using online technology and zoom video calls, these classes offer great flexibility when it comes to schedule, location or subject. It’s also ideal if you’re considering moving your child to the UK school system.
ITS Education Asia (ITS) provides flexible learning options in English for a wide range of subjects (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary levels). While the team also offers in-person private tuitions, it’s currently switching to online learning for new students and those who have recently returned from overseas. There’s also an online school which provides live classes as well as video and blended-learning options. ITS operates two schools in Hong Kong registered with the Hong Kong Education Bureau and can enrol students from all over the world thanks to virtual live lessons via an online classroom.
IT Education Asia, 4/F, BOC Group Life Assurance Tower, 134-136 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong
For You Education offers tutors who are experts in both the local and international school curriculum. Most of their tutors have graduated from the ESF or other international schools, so they are intimately familiar with Hong Kong’s education system and teaching styles.
While you might be helping your children out with their studies, there might be subjects that are out of your area of expertise. If you are looking for sustained and consistent help to guide your children through their higher grades, TUTTEE offers effective tutoring for chemistry, physics, maths, biology and Chinese (IB, GCE, IGCSE, IAL & HKDSE). These instructors are highly trained and paid fairly through the company. They also have impressive statistics on how effective the tutoring has enhanced their student’s grades, with a focus on helping students to actually understand the content instead of cramming for a test. Fees range from $400 to $500 per hour. They offer 1:1 lessons and have been conducting virtual tutoring since well before the virus started for remote students, so they were able to quickly adapt to online learning for all.
Another way to connect with tutors directly (no paying a middleman) is by utilising the Facebook group titled Hong Kong Tutors. This way, you can ensure that 100% of your money is going directly to the tutors themselves. Lessons range from $200 to $550 per hour. Though not HK-based, Chegg is an online tutoring platform for multiple (often fairly complex) subjects that you should consider as well. It’s best if you have quick questions regarding certain problems on your child’s homework, even if he or she waited until right before the midnight deadline to get started (they’re accessible 24/7!).
Tips For Online Learning
COVID-19 has changed learning for our children and the reality is that it’s likely to look quite different for the next few years. While we all love in-person teaching, the internet has opened our eyes to a world (wide web) of possibilities. You might find better and more reasonably-priced resources outside the city and opt for remote learning even when not mandatory. As families get ready to move out of Hong Kong, they may also find this a good way to prepare their kids for a different curriculum and new education system overseas.
If you are figuring out what resources to give your child’s tutor or use yourself as a homeschooling parent, look at Khan Academy, a non-profit US-based organisation. It has a suggested daily schedule for remote learning broken up by age level, along with recommended apps, podcasts and excellent educational materials. When contacting tutors, ask about their approach and the materials they use and make sure your intentions are clear (whether you want them to keep pace with the school syllabus or are looking for additional or different support).
Additionally, if your child wants to learn at their own pace and unassisted by a tutor, there are a plethora of online classes (more are being added every month) on offer for free from universities around the globe. You might even want to enrol for some of these classes yourself along (including Yale’s most popular course, The Science of Well-being).
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 15, April 2020 by Sarah Guinon and updated on 3, September 2020.