Trial lessons at British Council

This was the second time we had attended academic related trial lessons. I had always toyed with the idea of sending Z for their holiday writing camps but the schedules always clashed with either a trip or another holiday camp.

This time round, there were slots for N2 and P1/P2. I had thought that I was supposed to sign up for a more advanced level like K1 and P3/P4 respectively. Our year’a schedule had pretty much panned out. 

The N2 session was broken into 3 distinct segments. X enjoyed himself very much but I could see striking similarities to his current preschool classes. There was need for us to splurge since his preschool had taken care of that.

The P1/P2 session was a combined trial. I thought it was not a good representation or the curriculum was a tad basic. Z said the lesson was fun. Indeed, it was. It surrounded a theme and the activities were creatively tied to it. 

However, even he found the level of work junior for him (let alone me). It was probably good for kids who needed to nail their foundation. 

Or maybe group lessons or any form of academic enrichment was not up our alley at the moment. 

Pack Your Own

For the upcoming holidays, the boys were going to carry their backpacks and their individual sets of:

– sunglasses 

– caps

– jackets 

– Lip balm

– Handcream 

– Storybook

It was time for them to take charge of their mini set of belongings, while we take care of the rest.

This time round, I also got Z to prepare his clothes. Actually, I had planned for X and given that both boys had the same clothing item 70% of the time, it was not hard for Z to grab the items from his wardrobe.

For the balance, I asked him to propose. Mr H, on the other hand, packed the necessities like underwear and socks for them. Well, that was where we contrasted on parenting. 

He would rather do it than save the hassle of making sure they knew how to do it and appear like the sweetest parent. I would rather go through the hassle of teaching them how to fish than to fish for them and appear like the meanest parent. 

PTM with Speech & Drama school

We actually had PTM with Z’s teacher at his speech and drama school. After all, she conducted weekly lessons for him for the past semester.

Her observation of him was pretty accurate. We were mindful of the areas he had to work on. Most importantly, he was a likeable student and had picked up fast in class. 

She was the second teacher in the week to comment that he was a smart boy. Sometimes, it felt like I was a mean mummy for not giving him as stellar a rating.

I had always told Z that his results were for him and only him. It did not matter if he did well or not. I would love him nonetheless but whether I felt proud of him was another matter. Nay, I did not say the latter. 

At least, I had gotten him to identify that when he became overly excited, he would forget everything. He would forget himself, his knowledge, his work, self control and all the rules. 

After his final class of the semester, I challenged him to teach the Chinese poem to X. If he succeeded as a mini teacher and X mastered the poem, both would be rewarded. 

Z was overzealous and kept pushing X to learn, even when X got tired. It was very funny because we had to tell him to be patient and not stress his “student”. That illustrated our overzealousness in pushing Z too! Guess he could finally identify with us. 

Parenting a 7.5 year old

Clearly, I had not been up to speed with the game.

Too authoritative and too fierce, you take away the child’s confidence.

Too sweet and soft, the child becomes incorrigible.

I have to constantly remind myself that Z has opinions of his own, ideas of his own and preferences of his own. Sometimes, he doesn’t make the best decision and I bite my tongue to see him learn the lesson.

Even if it’s at the expense of him losing his favorite possession, I see him feel the heart pain, and so do I. He’s a really forgetful boy so he doesn’t remember his lessons.

Everything resets to zero when he has too much fun. That happens really often. 

Rules and boundaries – Reset to zilch 

Math, English and Chinese – Reset to zilch 

Drive, motivation and discipline – Reset to zilch 

Imagine my horror when I searched “Why are boys forgetful?” I get results telling me that this problem will peak during teenagehood and may never even be solved when the boys reach adulthood. That explains why I have a very forgetful Mr H on hand too!

I like this particular suggestion of turning a statement into a question and will try to practice the next time. Instead of telling Z to do something, I should ask him how he plans to do it. 

And finally, I must also remind myself on the little moments worth celebrating. In theory, it was good to boost the child’s confidence. On the flip side, it was shielding the child in a bubble world. 

Tough call, tough judgement. 

PTM @ P2 1H

We managed to get a 815am slot but I forgot about it and setup a 9am meeting. These were definitely times when work took precedence over kids. 

To my horror, the session before us overran and I was watching the time earnestly. As Z’s form teacher was on maternity leave, it was just us and the Chinese teacher. She impressed me with her creative teaching style and how she appealed to the kids. 

She remembered what Z liked to do in school, the little knick knacks. Previously, she had messaged me about how Z was playing with erasers in class and she confiscated those. I liked teachers who went the extra mile in guiding the kids. 

Z was a sharp boy and could even spot her mistakes if she wrote wrong stuffs on the board. Funny though, because he was so careless in most things.

What I liked about this year’s report card was a segment on character grading and if the students were in line with the school values. Z aced that, so I hoped it meant he was a good and kind boy. 

Familiar places for holidays

This article, with its click-bait headline, sent people off in a frenzy of discussion. I thought this explained why Z and X always asked us to return to the same few places. 

By now, they had repeated visits to Tokyo, Paris, London, Seoul, Bali and Hokkaido. However, when we started on new places, it wasn’t like they could not adapt too. 

They had never explicitly expressed if they liked or disliked a holiday. However, in order for the adults to enjoy the trip, I tried my best to plan for a family-friendly holiday such that there was something for everyone. As best as possible, I planned ahead to minimize nasty surprises. For instance, I made sure I knew the train timings, the range of dining options and whatever I could book in advance, I did so.

Do more research, make the trip more pleasant. It’s not necessary to always stick to the same place for familiarity, unless for personal preferences. For recall’s sake, that was why I made photobooks which the family, including me and especially the kids, love. 

A holiday wasn’t just a holiday. It was part of our memory milestone. 

Last week of school

It was as though it was the start of school holidays. The boys were in a party mood. So were the parents who were counting down to sleeping in. 

I did not recall school being so fun in my days. 

I also did not recall having parents so heavily involved too. 

Are we around too much? Or do the kids love it? Sometimes, it seemed we did not give them a choice.

Plans for the holidays:

1. Mega zip

2. National gallery’s children biennale exhibition

3. Southern ridges

4. Cars 3 movie 

5. Army open house