After my post on replacing Fear to Faith in Missing Out, the atmosphere at home visibly changed.
In this exams period, exercising faith in God helped me shift my focus away from the pressures of my kids’ performances. It helped greatly that my hubby is extra supportive. Instead, I paid patient attention to the processes involved.
Smile! It’s Exams!
I discovered just by Refocusing on my eldest as shared in my Faith in Missing Out post, it reaped a dividend beyond my expectation! Not a dividend of results per say. I reaped the benefits of a clearer vision, fostered a deeper relationship and earned greater respect from a growing up boy (who seems to exhibit signs of teenhood?)
Seriously? In just 15mins you may wonder. Basically I have to prepare what I wish to coach him in. This time round, I zoomed in on the extension of mind-mapping for his science. With the help of Aurelia’s Science made easy with doodles, we made another beeline for mindmap with his own doodle version. I left the other subjects to a simple reviewing of past school homework. We went through all the mistakes to check for full understanding of concepts and recorrections. In other words, he will go through all the corrections independently before i sit with him to cover the (failed) questions and go through them again.
Below is his completed doodle. Why write on a post it ? So that it can be taken away to test himself and re-place the notes correctly. Also, if there are additional information, we can just add on with another sticky tape or even white label sticker. This teaches them to be open to new ideas and make relevant connections when refering to other sources of information. In fact, while reviewing his science class papers, he underlined all the important concepts (those questions he got wrong) and copied on a Post-It to paste in the relevant topic of his diy mindmaps.
The photo below is his version in words re-mapped from Aurelia’s doodle map. I am excited that he has internalized this mindmapping skill and remapped his own from what his teacher taught him in class. He used the acronyms instead. This is the best way to learn! When information is transferred and applied in context in your own way. I had started this mind mapping strategy in March. By now, he has been doing his own mind-maps for all his science topics. Do take a look at the instagram video for an idea.
It was challenging initially when I started to refocus on A a month ago. He probably felt restricted since mum is paying FULL (100%) attention on him alone for that coaching time. My target was a minimum of 15mins. If it had to be extended, I ensured I take a break before refocusing another 15mins. Once he gets on the task, I leave him and just check on him to follow through the task. With this pattern of coaching, from initial tantrums, he slowly warmed up to my firm yet positive attention. We experienced much satisfaction and joy in going through the exams with prayer and patience. Pressurising him to revise for his exams is Not my goal. My goal is to help him grow to love challenges and thus to handle the exam challenges with better cheer.
Post Exams: Great time to Grow and Glow!
We did not worry over his exam results this time round. There was this steadfast peace as the Lord reassured me the PROCESS was far more precious and important than the results. I was finally growing in TRUSTing the Lord personally.
Meanwhile, on Mother’s day weekend, we went to do grocery for our cell group’s dinner. Kiddos split up and did their assigned list. J tried cleaning up the whole raw chicken. He took out the organs inside and tried chopping the neck and feet. He was fascinated and grossed out at the same time using gloves. He then thanked me for doing such gross job to cook for them. Happy Mother’s Day doing the mundane things moms do! I thank God for our own mums!
Of all the gifts I received, I was particularly touched by my eldest’ initiative. In the past, before this full attention was paid to him, I was flustered teaching haphazardly all 3 together. I just hit and go, more often nagging and scolding him because he was not conscientious or motivated to study. It was so bad that I felt like giving up many times. After carrying out this method of coaching, it did us great by God’s abundant grace! A clearly appreciated the short, but quality time spent on him. With a fearless and worry-free heart, my coaching became lighthearted and patience flowed more graciously! I also made more effort to engage him in prayer before we study. The card was given before his exam results. It is significant because it showed he appreciated the PROCESS of learning together with the better me.
As the exams were over, I refocused back on my school work. I was viewing ‘Caine’s Arcade’ and the kids took an interest in it. After watching it, they were so fired up and began immediately to work on their Own arcade! (Ok, as a Karang Guni, I do have a supply of boxes for them) It is about this boy in town who built his own arcade and waited patiently, cheerfully daily for a customer to play his game. It’s a story about a creative child’s innocent dream and patient awaiting which finally came true One day.
Guess what they’re up to?生意越做越大! (their biz grew bigger with each day!) At this stage, I am mighty pleased that the kids automatically clean up after themselves after years of training.
Introducing A’s ‘Tap of Doom’, do you see the maze looks like a water tap? I thought it looked like another ghostly tap of death… (ok, my imagination growing wild here. lol)
This little piggy having a rest from his risky job! “I finally see the light!’
You can view my kids’ hilarious manual arcade game here
The beauty of this initiative is how they took ownership and was motivated to do on their own entirely without my help at all. It was really a ‘Happy Accident’ where they saw my resource meant for my students and materialised for themsleves as a team. I had loads of fun playing with them, rekindling the child in me! I strongly recommend you show your kids ‘Caines Arcade’ for the hols to game away manually. It will be a great project!
Exams Results that Grew, Hearts that Glowed
‘Mama, I know my results already. But papers not back yet.’ I just nodded. We left it as that. I think A has learnt that we are not interested in his marks per say. The last time he told us his marks, I just told him to wait for his papers so that we can go through with him. Thus the inaction of telling us his grades and I waited for his papers to be returned.
The day came. He looked pleased. He excitedly explained why his maths (his strongest subject) he left 2 problem sums blank. The problems were too difficult, really a problem! This time round, instead of sulking or lamenting over his inability, he said now he understands after teacher did corrections with them. 1 still blur though. Next, he excitedly showed me how he went from a fail to a good pass for his science. His face was glowing. His chinese, it was due to a lack of time that his whole comprehension section was left undone.
As I looked at my glowing boy, it was all that mattered. He is experiencing the joy of learning and growing. ‘What have you learnt from this exams?’ His answers- ‘That I put in a lot of effort, I gave my best for this exams! And from a fail, I finally passed my science! By God’s Luck that I passed!’ Did I mention he had been highly discouraged from his failure in Term 1 and detested studying for it since then.
Grinning, I corrected, ‘ You mean by God’s grace la?’ He chuckled and said,’ oh Yes, hahaha, I mean by God’s grace, I am able to work hard and pass!’ (growing glow) With that, I reiterated that he can be proud of the effort he put in and whatever improvements he has made. Most importantly, I was happy to see the breakthrough growth in his learning attitude.
These days, as we exercised faith in God’s sovereignty, this whole exams process opened a new dimension of spiritual growth in my family’s life. I could, for the first time, sense the joy and change of new mindset of growth in us.
I thank God for the constant renewal of our minds in His living words.
Who says the skies must be blue? Like the above photo taken from my window view, I am being reminded to seek Him first early in the morning once again after being too tired for a period and using pockets of time for quiet time.
For now, I am content to Teach Less, Give Thanks and Pray More.
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