Sonshine is due for Primary school next year. How do i feel about that?
Dreadful. Reluctant. Heart broken.
It pains me to think that he is going to spend the next 15 years in prison, i mean, school. Everyone in Singapore knows schools here are not the happiest place to be. In fact, it is probably one of the most stressful, joy killer, childhood damaging place to be. I feel guilty and utterly sorry that he has to go through our educational system this way.
Despite my reluctance, i am glad for two things:
1) I made the point to prepare sonshine for primary school work.
Sonshine's personality is such that he crumbles under pressure and stress. When that happens, his thought process will go haywire and all that he knows will fly straight out of the window in a flash! He gets very upset with himself if he fails to complete perfectly even if it is the smallest of task like putting on his socks. So i am certain, if he goes to school realising he is far from his peers, he would crash into pieces and it would be quite hard to piece him back up. And his mother is also the panicky sort. If he panics, i would panic and you all can say goodbye to our entire household!
Also, i am glad that i can put off tuition for him for at least 2 more years. That will save him from additional work (from tuition), give him more time to play, sleep and just relax. Well, at least that is my plan that i hope to work out.
2) The choice of our school
By the accounts of other parents whose kids are already in my almar mater (which is the school sonshine is going), it looks like school work is pretty manageable, maybe even easy breezy for the first 2 years at least. I was even told that this school's work is even easier than assesment books. YAHOOOOOO!! My niece who is in Primary 2 comes home everyday and tells me there is no homework. Okay, that is because she is able to complete them all even before she reaches home. But that means it is quite easy isn't it?
Again, sonshine is the sort who thrives in a relax environment. The more chilled it is, the better for him. So i am really glad that the school environment suits his learning style and needs.
However, i am warily aware that in primary 3, things will take a sharp turn. That is where my stress level will go up. But, we'll take that as it comes.
On another note, i personally know some mothers who tell me that their pre-schoolers are struggling with their work. I sympathise with them. However, it baffles me why despite that, they are still insistent about sending their kids to the 'top', SAP schools. Why do that to the child? If its the parents' Alma mater or distance is the issue, then, that i can understand. But otherwise?
And then there are the other group of parents who decides to send their kids to the top school but still opt to take the 'relax, chill out' attitude. Do they really know what they are doing to their child? I know such parents claim they don't really care for the grades and it is okay that their child scores borderline grades. That aside, what about the child's self esteem? Our school system can be very unforgiving and cruel to students who score below the mark. I can assure you that the school, teachers, friends, relatives will not hesitate to tell the child that he/she is a 'poor student'. Even if the parents say 'it is okay' but it is the child who has to battle the system all by him/herself each day at school. Everyday, somebody or something (simple things like reward stickers for good work) will remind him/her that 'he/she isn't very good'. Unless you are very certain that your young child's confidence and self esteem are strong enough to stand against the pressures, then, please don't do this to your child. Our education system is not one to 'play' with. It is no longer just about the grades, it impacts their self esteem and confidence. If they get damaged, they may bring this negative self worth into their adulthood, that's not good.
I am not saying that parents should expect fantastic grades from their children and send them for countless tuition to prepare their child. What i am saying is, make sure your child is comfortable academically enough to handle the pressures of primary school. Start them as early as possible. Sure, it is a 'kiasu' (trying to be ahead of everyone) syndrome but i would rather be labelled as that than to risk my child's self esteem, won't you? I am not confident that my child's self worth will still be intact after going through our education system. I think our education system has come to a point where being 'bo chap' (being care less) is damaging to our children's emotional being. So, as a parent, i want to do what i can to protect my children's self esteem. Sadly, one obvious way is to stay ahead of the game. The other, of course, is to choose the right school for your kids that suit their personalities, abilities and learning style. Don't blindly choose one just because it promises over the top grades. So even if it is your Alma mater but if the school expectation is too much for your kid, then please consider some other school where your child will be happier.
We are all frustrated with our education system. But it is something we cannot overturn in a night. So meanwhile, we have to wise up and try to do what we can and not make silly decisions like sending them to schools that don't suit our child's learning style or choose to be 'bo chap'. I apologise if i offend any parent here. Just my honest opinion.