My daughter created a winning exam strategy

When #2 took her O levels last year, I knew it was a whole different ball game from preparing for the PSLE.

In 4 short years, they morph from caterpillars into butterflies. Beautiful individually formed strong characters, ready to flap their wings and fly.

But, along with the development of their unique and bold patterns, there are 3 areas we as parents have to come to terms with:

– They are no longer little children whom you can dictate to, and expect pure obedience (could we ever?!).

– Their phones are like an extension of their hand, which can’t be forcefully extracted from them lest I am keen on igniting a war of wills. It can be used positively, or become a huge distraction.

– They have a life (with the prom being a few days away from the last paper not helping things at all) and their friends have a far greater sway than before.

I learned that it was futile to nag and scold, and I left her to figure out her own exam strategy. Instead, I watched from the sidelines and support and guide where necessary.

I made it a point to turn up for all her parent-teacher meetings, and was so heartened to see that her teachers were genuinely concerned for her. She was a child with a lot of potential, but she was very clearly an Arts student who loved her Literature and English subjects, but struggled with the Science subjects.

Her poor Chemistry teacher found it so hard to motivate her and even encouraged her to turn the boring formulas into songs and allowed her to bring her guitar to school to sing. When she received her results, she told me: “Mum, she was the only teacher who never gave up on me.”

 
 

She devised this simple but effective strategy in the months leading up to the O levels.

She painstakingly wrote out every chapter of every subject on individual bits of paper, numbered and colour-coded them.

Once she had finished revising a chapter, she would move that piece of paper to the other side of the wall.

With this system, she demolished the chapters systematically. The brilliance lay in its visual cue, where you can see the number of chapters per subject left very clearly.

It was also highly motivating to see the bare side of the wall starting to fill up!

She was excited to take up the challenge of this crucial year and after the exams, she said, “It was actually quite fun to set my goals and study so hard.” And her great achievement was sweet reward indeed.

I am pleased that my efforts over the past 15 years of guiding them to be independent learners have finally borne fruit.

And that I was able to give them a carefree childhood where tuition and assessment books are not a normal part of their lives, yet they have emerged to be driven and motivated teenagers.

School Stories:

  1. When your son gets into fights in school
  2. My son the loan shark
  3. So kids can’t play once they start school?
  4. Things teachers say
  5. Lessons learnt from #1’s Os
  6. My son. There’s hope yet
  7. Who has an obsession with tuition?
  8. Paying tutors $250 an hour to do assignments?
  9. I didn’t even know my child was being bullied until…
  10. How I got my son to do his homework without nagging
  11. How #2 topped her level in English
  12. DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped.
  13. Tuition – First line of attack?
  14. Why do exams have to be so stressful?
  15. First day mix up!
  16. The day I forgot to pick my son from school
  17. No more T-score. Now what?
  18. Tackling the new school year
  19. She did it, without tuition
  20. So who’s smarter?
  21. Why I do not coach my kids anymore
  22. My Best Parent Teacher Meeting EVER
  23. My daughter created a winning exam strategy
  24. 6 tips to really prepare your child for P1
  25. 6 tips to choose a Primary school
  26. 6 things to do in the PSLE year
  27. 6 tips to choose the right Preschool
  28. 6 tips to choose a Secondary school that is right for your child
  29. Our education system is starting to get exciting!
  30. PSLE results: Good or bad, what do you say?
  31. “Mum, just get me exempted from Chinese.”
  32. A huge jump in P6 SA1
  33. PSC Scholarship? WOW
  34. My teen in a neighbourhood school
  35. What the PSLE is really about
  36. How to choose the “best” Secondary school for your child

She did it, without tuition

We attended #2’s award ceremony last week at her alma mater. It was indeed a joyous occasion for us, seeing how she has blossomed over the 4 years, not only doing well academically, but displaying leadership qualities and being surrounded by close friends. She received a leadership award for her position as band major, and topped her cohort in Social Studies/Literature for the O levels.

I think what I was proudest about was that she managed everything on her own, without me having to nag or micro-manage.

When she entered Primary 1, I gave her my expectations and her responsibilities and guided her to be in charge of her own learning for the next 6 years.

She did not have any tuition nor extra “mummy homework”.

So what did she do with her time?

She spent a lot of time reading, and went to the playground every evening with her siblings, even throughout the PSLE year. Their fond memories of playground games with their neighbours will stay with them forever.

Dinner was at 6pm and bedtime at 8.30pm, so that hardly left room for much else during the school week. When bored, she would create all sorts of things, such as mazes for their pet hamsters or swimming pools for their terrapins, and the 5 siblings would find their own fun.

The grandparents took them out most weekends, to the zoo, bird park or science centre.

The only tuition I gave her was after the P6 prelim exams because her grades were Bs and Cs. On hindsight, tuition was probably not needed as we discovered that her school had set very tough prelim papers, and she scored much better for her PSLE with 3 As and 1 A*.

In secondary school, she returned home at 8pm twice a week due to CCA and in her spare time, she wrote fan fiction (she has more followers than me!) and taught herself to play the keyboard and guitar.

I encouraged her to balance health and family with school work especially when the latter became a monster which took on a life of it’s own. And even when she bucked the trend and was the only one amongst her classmates sleeping at 10pm, she stood firm.

I did not keep track of her tests or exams, because it was her responsibility, and the message was always that learning does not equate to passing exams, nor competing against friends, but for herself.

In the run up to the O levels, I checked in frequently to see if she needed additional help from a tutor (while reminding her that it should be the last resort), but she reassured me that she was managing ok and was getting help from her friends in her weak areas. In the end, she did well and entered a JC of her choice.

School days are the best days!

I made a decision not to be sucked in to the rat race, to keep my focus on what was healthy and meaningful for them, and the achievement she attained today is testimony that pushing our kids relentlessly through the education mill is not the only way, and we do have a choice in how we want to bring our kids up in this over-competitive academic landscape.

Having walked this ‘alternative’ path alone, I’m glad they turned out alright.

10 years on, I am assured that I have not short-changed my kids in any way, and that I have achieved my simple goal of giving them a happy childhood, guiding them to be self-motivated, to discover their passions, and to never be afraid to chase their dreams.

For that, it’s time I gave myself a pat on the back 🙂


School Stories:#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

#11 – How #2 topped her level in English
#12 – DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 – Tuition – First line of attack?
#14 – Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 – First day mix up!
#16 – The day I forgot to pick my son from school
#17 – No more T-score. Now what?
#18 – Tackling the new school year
#19 – She did it, without tuition.
#20 – So who’s smarter?
#21 – Why I do not coach my kids anymore.

 

About MummyWee

Michelle Choy is an Occupational Therapist by day and mum of 6 by night. Besides the already very demanding job of managing 5 teenagers and one 7-turning-17 tween, she is also Founder of The Little Executive, a nurturing centre to develop children in areas like resilience and executive function, to survive today’s volatile world. She is also a parenting coach and has been featured on national TV, radio and print media.

 

Do schools make the PSLE more stressful than it should be?

The 2016 PSLE results are out and something strange is happening. I’m still wondering why a parent’s response to her own child’s results was picked up by a newspaper, which has gone viral.

Our children, who have increasingly more access to the internet, are picking up on the views of us adults, and that is where they are forming their own opinions of self and success based partly on societal norms.

What should we be talking about, the days following the release of results?

The stories about resilience and students surmounting great obstacles are encouraging, and I would also love to read about the special programmes of various schools which might suit my child’s interest and aid in our selection of a secondary school.

#4 had a rough ride this year and did not enjoy her PSLE year like her 3 older sisters did. They were up for the challenge, were motivated, supported well, and fought hard.

For her, the preparations and exams leading up to the PSLE were so daunting that she was overwhelmed. Even more of a pity is that despite the ridiculous amount of work piled on them, with hours of homework every day, there was no correlation to results.

As a parent, what do you do when you see your child cracking under the pressure? Push some more? For her sake or mine?

I shall not disclose her score as I did previously with my other girls as she was uncomfortable with me documenting her P6 year and I respect that.

Suffice to say that her results were as expected and I had already come to terms with that in June as she was not coping well and we had terminated all her tuition which we began in January. Her sanity was more important to me than those 3 digits.

However, what was unexpected was that several of her classmates had low scores too, despite them having a ton of tuition. I can’t understand why parents are so caught up with top scorers and the percentage of students scoring above 250. Shouldn’t we consider the weakest link in any situation? More so when there are GEP students making up the bulk of that percentage.

I only put her in this school after giving the school in our neighbourhood a shot with my 3 older kids and realizing that the values of the principal did not align with ours. On this note, I have to say that #4’s principal is one of the best I have encountered and she was indeed lucky to have the opportunity to be in this school at this time. Her care and concern for each and every student was evident, and her greatest desire seemed to be to imbue in them solid values such as respect for others, service to the community, gratitude and humility.

I clarified with her teachers if she was in the lousiest class in the cohort, but no, I was told that it was a general mixed ability class. So that was quite puzzling. The hubs is disappointed that a seemingly good school is unable to prepare their students adequately for the national exams. It can’t be that she is a very weak student because she managed to score an A for her English.

We did not scold her, for she must already be disappointed that she does not have many schools to choose from. We also could not say that as long as she had tried her best, that was enough, because honestly, I don’t think she had given of her best in the run up to the exams.

Could we have done things differently? I do not know. Was it the pressure of the system that became too much for some of these 12-year olds to cope with? Likely so.

All I can do is to put things into perspective and tell her that the exams that needed to be taken were taken, and the results are out. This is definitely not the end, and life goes on. She has another opportunity to work hard and to do well and she should seize that chance.

Now it’s off to consulting THE GREY HANDBOOK for the 4th time! It almost feels like an old friend.

One sad fact is that because her friends come from all over the island, from as far as Yishun, Pasir Panjang and even Sengkang, most of them are choosing a secondary school near their own home and the group of them will be separated.

That is her greatest worry now, to enter an unknown school, alone.

Whichever school she goes to, we can only hope and pray that she is lucky enough to get passionate teachers who will go the extra mile to teach and encourage them, and that she will find good friends to journey the next 4 years with.

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

The O level year. Only 1 thing matters.

Below is what a 15-year old girl tweeted to her friends overseas.

You know that the education system is a mess when you spend half your time convincing classmates who are really sick not to come to school but they insist anyway because the teachers will get mad if they miss tests, hand in assignments late or miss parts of the syllabus.

Honestly, the number of people around me in class who have been coughing and sneezing and looking like they are about to throw up resembles an endemic, yet they won’t go home because they are afraid they will get behind.

It has only been 2 months yet three-quarters of our class has already fallen ill.

The O level year

We have been brainwashed that the national exams are all that matter.

Does anyone realise that our health is just as important?

Why does it seem like I’m the only one who feels this way?

Some of our teachers are concerned, but all they can say is “Drink more water and try to rest more.” Rest? Why are they seemingly unaware of our cumulative workload?

And why do teachers still yell at students who already get less than 5 hours of sleep a night trying to complete homework and rushing to study for tests as though they are lazy? How can we fit everything the teachers dole out into 24 hours, with our CCAs, extra classes and student responsibilities?


Yet all these physical demands are nothing compared to the mental ones many are enduring.


Please, we are kids!

When did the typical day of a 15-year old become downing coffee at 2am while scribbling down the last answers to an assignment long overdue, and holding back tears when you get test papers back?


Because whenever we get test papers back, there are tears.

Grades are made out to be so important that if your best cannot achieve a good grade, you are nothing.

Who allowed that “F” on a test paper to define someone?


Who let algebra and the reactivity series become exceedingly more important than our health and happiness?

Where is the balance in our lives?

At the end of this gruelling year, what might be the outcome?

Success after pushing ourselves so hard, at the sacrifice of health and family life?

Or disappointment to our parents, that our best is not good enough.


This, we call education in Singapore.

                                 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some of you may have already guessed. The 15-year old is my child.

She spent the weekend methodically demolishing her pile of homework, feeling slightly overwhelmed and trying to make sense of the stressful environment around her.

To put things in perspective, she’s in one of the better classes in an average secondary school. I hear from parents with kids in top secondary schools that the situation is very similar and peer pressure is great.

One mum even remarked, “Once the term starts, I rarely see her smile anymore. That is the life of our kids these days.” 

I remember sitting in a parents’ information session in an elite primary school, and the Principal was touching on what to do in the event that the child was sick on the day of a test or exam.

I was so heartened to hear her remind the parents that if the child is sick, they should take the child to see the doctor and get a medical certificate instead of sending the child to school only for the duration of the test, because we want our children to know that we care about them and their health more than anything else.

Looks like the O level kids don’t have the luxury of adequate sleep and a healthy lifestyle, do they?


School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

#11 – How #2 topped her level in English
#12 – DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 – Tuition – First line of attack?
#14 – Why do exams have to be so stressful?
#15 – First day mix up!

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Diary of a PSLE mum: Targets and Action Plan

People have been asking what’s my strategy on handling my kids during their PSLE year.

How I can stay calm and relaxed, yet manage to bring their dismal scores to straight As, with the kids enjoying the ride. Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

I’ve decided to chronicle #4’s P6 year, which would also serve as a beautiful journal for her last year in primary school.

I believe that the first step is their mentality. If they are motivated and willing to work hard, half the battle is won.

#4 is all psyched up and excited to embark on this final year, where the scores do matter to a great extent.

There’s a sense like finally, now it’s my turn!


She had spent the December holidays getting her room in order, personalising stationery and making sure everything is neat and tidy and conducive for studying.

PSLE diary

So where does she stand?

She scored 74 for English, 44 for Chinese and 61 for both Math and Science.

Yup, lots of room for improvement, especially Chinese.

My expectations for her are to get an A for all 4 subjects and here’s why.

English:

She has always been reasonably strong in English and I hope that she can get a high A to help pull up her overall aggregate. She has never had an interest in reading and the only thing she reads is my blog and some of #5’s books which I don’t really approve of.

Action: Encourage her to read daily, with a wider variety of genres. Their English tutor who handled the older 3 girls has agreed to teach #4 so that’s settled.

Chinese:

All my kids are weak in Chinese because we don’t speak the language at home so she needs to put in a lot of effort this year. She has dropped to lower Chinese and hopefully in this banded class, she is able to progress with students of her similar ability instead of struggling with higher Chinese last year.

Action: She definitely needs Chinese tuition asap to brush up on her oral skills, composition and comprehension. Their aunt has done an amazing job tutoring the older 3 and managed to pull up their grades from borderline passes to As, so I’m hopeful #4 is able to achieve it as well.

Math:

She needs to keep pace with what is taught in school and not let her confusion with certain topics escalate. A lot more time has to be spent on drills to improve her accuracy and speed.

Action: Her aunt will be free to coach her once a week after Chinese new year and give her individual attention to spot her weak areas and explain concepts which she is unable to grasp in class.

Science:

From experience with the older 3 kids, I realise that to do well in the Science paper, not only do they need to understand the concepts but they have to be guided on the key words to use when answering the questions in order not to lose marks.

Action: I am keeping an eye out for a good Science tuition for her to recap the concepts learnt from primary 3 to 5 and to guide her in tackling the paper.

So far, the amount of homework given has been reasonable and she still manages to squeeze in 1 hour of playground time and get to bed by 8.30pm.

The year is going to move along very quickly and I hope her enthusiasm and stamina holds out!

Related posts:

6 things to do in the PSLE year

What I expect from a good tutor



~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~


School Stories #14: Why do exams have to be so stressful?

The exam period has just ended, and as usual, children and parents were highly stressed.

I don’t get it.

Before I go on, let’s draw the perimeters. I’m referring to lower primary school kids. I understand the need for full revision for a high stakes exam like the Primary 6 PSLE. But what about the lower years?

To me, an examination is but an arbitrary guide to see if our children have learned what they are supposed to have picked up throughout the year, and to flag serious concerns, if present.

I like how in some other education systems, testing is done informally, where the children do not even know when it is just daily worksheets and when they are being tested.

My kids don’t get tuition in the lower primary years, and I resist giving them extra ‘mummy’s homework’. Thus, there’s no chance of squeezing in more sessions with the tutor nor piling on the home revision even when it’s nearing the exams.

During the exam period, they come home and play as per normal, and er, do things like making nests with twigs found at the playground.

#5 fashioned his own nest

They are inundated with past year exam papers in school and they deserve a break to relax and unwind. I don’t believe in forcing them to memorise chunks of information, only to regurgitate them and promptly forget after the exams are over. Not at this age.

In fact, I was flabbergasted when I asked a GEP (gifted education program) student, who was in my house, some P6 Science questions which #3 was stuck with and she could not answer any of them! (and this was barely a few months after she had passed the PSLE with flying colours) When I probed further, she replied rather sheepishly, “I’ve forgotten everything. We just cram to take the exams.”

This, we call education?

I get bombarded by questions on my laissez faire attitude towards their exam scores.

What if they end up in a lousy class?

All the better!

They will be with peers who are of a similar standard, and the pace will be more suitable.

Last year, #5 was in a mixed ability class because there is no streaming after P1. He got Band 2 for his Math. This year, he was streamed into one of the lower ability classes and he scored 46/50 for CA2!

Building a lil’ nest for Kate to play with

The other objection I hear all the time from my well-meaning friends is,

You have to push them, for them to do well.

Intrinsic motivation works way better, and it is a life skill for them to cultivate.

The kids had 4 extra days off from school the week before the exams. #4, who is in Primary 5, requested for some Math assessment books.

#4: Mum, can I buy a Math assessment book? I need to practice more before the exam.

Me: Are you sure you will do it? It’s only 1 week before your exams, seems like a waste. But I will buy if you will do it.

When we reached Popular bookstore, they were closed for stock take. I’ve never seen a child so disappointed in not being able to buy an assessment book before!

So. I decided to take her to the vendors who sold past year exam papers from various schools. They sold them in bundles of about 10 exam papers, costing $18.

Me: $18. Hmm. There are 11 papers in there. How many do you think you can complete?

#4: I have 8 days before my Math paper. I will do 1 each day. Ok?

Of course I bought it for her.

I was pleased as punched that she had finally taken responsibility for her own learning and wanted to do well. Whatever grade she gets in the end will be immaterial. The battle has already been won.

School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?

#11 – How #2 topped her level in English
#12 – DSA. Yet another initiative parents have warped
#13 – Tuition – First line of attack?

~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

School Stories #5: Lessons learnt from #1’s ‘O’s

The ‘O’ level exams are over. I am disappointed in #1 because she didn’t give of her best. I am also wondering if I should have done it a different way. For their PSLE I had a good strategy, but this is a whole new ball game altogether. In the short 4 years of secondary school life, the kids grow up very quickly and become more independent, more opinionated, even rebellious perhaps. I left it mostly up to her, and gave her some guidance and monitored her from arms’ length. I thought it should have been ok as she had her goals and seemed motivated to want to get into the JC of her choice, and she had her study time-table meticulously scheduled. However, she lost steam halfway and didn’t study as hard as she could have. On hindsight, these are some of the areas I should look into for the other 5 kids when it’s their turn.

Exam schedule

1) Use of gadgets

As she’s already in Sec 4, I thought I should be giving her more freedom. I did consider putting a curfew on her phone use, but she said that she texts her friends when she has questions and thus needs her phone. Her classmates also have group chats where they discuss school work and for this generation of teenagers, the phone is a major part of their lives. Something I think is detrimental, but what to do? (please enlighten me if you’ve got it all worked out). I’m sure she did spend unnecessary amounts of time using her gadgets instead of studying. Even adults find it hard to exercise self-control with regards to phone use, what more teenagers whose social lives are played out via their phones.

2) Sleep

Then there is the issue of sleep. During their PSLE, I ensure they get an adequate amount of sleep. However, in Sec 4, everything seems to go haywire. They get home late after school, and by the time they shower and have dinner, it is not unusual to sleep at midnight. In the days leading up to the exams, sometimes she studies into the wee hours of the night as she finds it more conducive then. However, her sleep pattern ends up topsy-turvy and that would have had a negative impact on her ability to concentrate.

3) Relationship issues

In my time, we’ve all seen friends breaking-up with their boyfriends/girlfriends during the crucial exams which affected their ability to study properly. Now, we are the parents having to worry. It is alarming how many secondary school kids are in relationships. Even if they are not in a relationship, the teenage years is a time when their hormones are running wild and they get easily attracted to others, which becomes a distraction. Again, I have no answer to this.

4) Prom night

I wasn’t so pleased that her prom night fell on the day right after her last paper. Being girls, they spent a lot of time stressing over getting the right dress, right shoes to match, and what to do with their hair and make-up. And she spent a considerable amount of time discussing this with her friends, surfing the net, and shopping. This distracted her from the last few days of revision. I wish the school could have spaced it out further.

I am pondering how to guide the rest of them better, and how to balance my input while giving them the trust and space to deal with it on their own. Because at 16, they are not young anymore, yet not matured enough.


What are your thoughts? Any advice?


School Stories:

#1 – When your son gets into fights in school
#2 – My son the loan shark
#3 – So kids can’t play once they start school?


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~

Countdown… 3 months to the PSLE

We are on to the last leg of preparations before the PSLE. So what’s my strategy? Keep nagging her to study more? Stop allowing her to go out and play? Force her to go for expensive tuitions that guarantee good results which last for hours? Nope, nope, and nope. It’s much simpler (for me, and for her) than that. Here are 6 tips for the crucial last few months:

1. Give small incentives to motivate her

I had feedback from her Chinese tutor that she has not been doing her homework and she gave the excuse that she has too much school homework and has no time for tuition homework. I observed her for a week and realised that was not the case. She was spending too much time reading on her iPad and doing unconstructive things like packing her room and wasting her time doing what-not. I figured it was because she disliked doing Chinese compositions and comprehensions so she came up with excuses to avoid doing them.

While we were out shopping, she saw a bag that she liked. I normally don’t buy them things besides during Christmas and on their birthdays. However, I made a deal with her that if I were to buy her the bag, she had to finish all her tutor’s homework from now on. She asked me, “How many more lessons?” I told her she had roughly 12 more lessons before the PSLE and that would be the end of tuition till the next major exam. “Deal” she beamed. Her tutor said that she has since kept to her word.

2. Limit gadget use

After all the issues with the 2 older ones about their addiction to gadgets, I knew I had to put a stop to the younger ones before they get sucked in too. It was an opportune time to restrict #3’s iPad and iPhone use as I realised she was also spending way too much time on them. Her class has a group whatsapp and it beeps incessantly with unimportant texts from her classmates which distracts her while she is doing her work. I took away her phone and told her she can only have it when she is out and needs to be contactable.

3. Get feedback from tutors

This year, she has tuition for 3 subjects to plug the gaps – English, Chinese and Math. I have not given her Science tuition as her school teacher seems to be doing an excellent job with the entire class. She also makes an effort to come back on Saturdays to give them supplementary classes where she gets them to watch good videos to enhance their understanding. Her aunt is tutoring her in Math and I chat with her about her progress every 2 or 3 weeks. Sometimes, these quick chats throw up little problems here and there which we are able to address easily. For example, her aunt mentioned that because her Math tuition is back to back with her supplementary classes, she is brain-drained and can’t concentrate fully. We solved the problem by giving her a nice little break in between. I would pick her up after class, take her out for lunch to give her mind a rest before heading over to her aunt’s place.

4. Encourage physical activity

Even though I don’t give her any additional stress at home, her school teachers are piling on the homework and going into overdrive as Prelims are round the corner. It is all the more necessary for her to relieve the stress and what better way than exercise. I’ve heard stories of children suddenly going blank during the PSLE exam due to excessive pressure. The good thing is that suddenly at this age of 12, she is getting more conscious of her body image and is motivated to exercise. Which is great as I don’t have to nag her to go out and get some fresh air. Every evening, she will either cycle around our neighbourhood or go for a jog.

5. One-on-one time

It is important, especially in a big family like ours, to block out time for her to hear if she has any problems or issues she is facing which might be impeding her ability to study properly. It is also good to give her special attention at this period of time because when a child is happy, they are able to concentrate and absorb better. (This is true. There is scientific evidence to show that kids who study under negative emotions are less likely to retain what they learn.)

6. Adequate sleep

I’m glad she is still able to stick to a 8.30pm bedtime on most nights. I truly believe they have to be well-rested to be able to focus well in school the next day. Somehow, #3 has no issues with not being able to finish her homework before bedtime. She is able to work smart and tries to complete as much of her homework as she can in school. I was curious how she is able to do this as I remembered #1 had a ton of homework during p6. She told me that there are several pockets of time which is just ‘wasted’, such as in between lesson changes, or when the teacher is settling admin matters or scolding some students. She will whip out her homework and quickly finish them. She even had time to bake her teacher cookies for her birthday!

Sane tip: Although the PSLE is looming near, I don’t feel the least bit stressed. I do the best I can as a mum, she does the best she can for herself, what more is there to ask for? Even at this juncture, the kids are picking up on what our underlying values are and I don’t want them to get the wrong impression that studying is just to pass exams instead of the acquisition of knowledge, discipline and perseverance. Nor that family time, respect or responsibility can be thrown out the window just because a major exam is approaching.

Save tip: The above 6 tips don’t cost very much.

For 6 things to do in the PSLE year, click here.

For 6 tips to choose a secondary school that is right for your child, click here.

On how crazy the PSLE year can get, click here.

With the proposed change in grading, “Who IS smarter?”


~ www.mummyweeblog.com – a blog on parenting 6 kids in Singapore ~