The English paper starts tomorrow. #4’s PSLE journey has been quite different from her 3 older sisters. I have a broad strategy for them, which includes private tuition for all subjects to plug the gaps during their primary 6 year.
For #4, she tried a few tutors in the early months of this year, but their teaching style did not suit her so she only had Math and Science tuition and relied on her school teachers. She was cruising along fairly well, and was excited to take her mid-year exams.
However, when she returned to school after the June holidays, her spirits seemed to falter. I think part of it had to do with the rather ridiculous workload and the expectations of her teachers and peers.
As we felt that the amount of work and pressure from school was more than sufficient, we decided to stop tuition altogether, and replaced that time with fun activities to relax.
On hindsight, I find that being in an elite school is not for everyone, because our philosophy can be quite different from the PSLE culture of the school. Some days, she was given 4 mock papers as homework, and struggled to complete them.
Her classmates were discussing which schools they were aiming for, and they were all top schools. When asked, she said she wished to go to her sisters’ school, which none of her friends have even heard of!
I was wondering how all these kids are so certain of scoring above 250, and she told me simply, “Mum, they have tuition everyday. Some of them have 2-3 tuition classes per day, and each lesson is 2 or 3 hours.”
My dear child on the other hand, is struggling to finish her homework while making time to play with her little sister.
Talk at school constantly revolved around the PSLE as though it was some kind of doomsday, and I think it does become rather depressing and stressful. I find it strange that the focus is on this one exam so much so that the students themselves start to question what education is all about.
Since the school was doing too much, I decided my role leading up to the PSLE was nothing of the academic sort, but instead, to provide her with nutritious meals. Not only will it help to give her brain and body the necessary boost, the fact that she saw me put in so much effort everyday to prepare a healthy, balanced and yummy lunch put her in good spirits.
I drew up a special ‘exam menu’ for her, and the other girls have been coming back for lunch everyday as well, and brought some of their friends home too. How I wish I had more time, and could set up a home kitchen for my kids and their friends.
In fact, the kids commented that my cooking has improved by leaps and bounds!
|Prawn & potatoes on a bed of quinoa|
My cooking is really random, and I use a variety of grains like quinoa, buckwheat and wild rice as a base, and sprinkle herbs, wheatgerm and soaked chia seeds for a boost of flavours and nutrients.
When they get bored of the same, I jazz things up with something different like savoury crepes. I must have stood over the pan pouring batter and flipping crepes for almost 3 hours as the kids streamed home. It is all worthwhile, seeing the kids tucking in and telling me, “This is really good, mum!”
|Chicken and mushroom crepes|
For a nutritious snack between papers, I have prepared cheery boxes packed full of dried fruit and nuts. I added in cranberries, apricots, white mulberries, cashew, almond, pistachio and macadamia nuts. Her bff gets a set too!
To fellow P6 mums, we have done all we could to support our kids. They are probably feeling very anxious right now, so just reassure them. Now is not the time to nag or give them more pressure.
For all P6s who will be taking your first major exam, even though your parents may not say it, they love you very much and are proud of you. Relax, sleep early and enjoy the exams.
All the best!
#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