How is everyone during this phase 2 period? Excited to be out meeting up with your loved ones face to face? Suddenly, being able to enter a kopitiam or restaurant becomes a privilege and luxury. We enter and soak up the wonderful ambiance (the bustling shouts of ‘Kopi O kosong!’ for the first, and the tasteful decoration of the latter) and relish all the dishes served up in style. We can stop cooking so fervently for a while. We can resume a bit more of the normalcy we used to enjoy.
Often, we think we can live our lives as we wish, but in this pandemic, God has shown that we can only live if He wills. In my lifetime, I have not gone overseas with my sisters before. We made a pact to go this 2020 June after a health scare from my sister. I decided, PSLE or not, I am going to make it for this trip. My family was very supportive. I relinquished all my ‘mummyfying’ endeavours to hover over A when I made that promise. We were all excited as I had never gone to Japan before. My sister made all the arrangements and bought all the tickets.
We know it was not meant to be. Ironically, we were all cooped up at home with great amount of time to catch up on lost time in school work and connected tighter than before! I was strangely not disappointed. Perhaps, not knowing what I missed really made me miss nothing?
On hindsight, I am grateful for this period of time to connect deeper simply by doing lots of activities, working alongside together with my family and simply being present as i blogged here.
I think it is God’s way of helping me to surrender my mummy remote control when I first committed to the holiday plan. The result was a more contrite heart and calmer nerves to coach my child towards this coming exams.
Counting Up Blessings
I count my blessing that my family is healthy and fit.
They automatically spend time reading the bible and pray upon waking up before they leave for school.
They were also mostly able to handle home-based learning independently during Circuit Breaker period. This CB period was a solid time of coaching back-to-basics for all types of corrections and memory works.
As I pondered over the blessings, I searched back for the parenting posts that I have kept up throughout these 7 years of blogging. There was a constant theme on how God continually renewed my mind and sharpened my heart to grow in faith, trust and love in the midst of nurturing our children. I saw the 6 years of growth unfolded in my blog and my heart beams over with new joy! Indeed, let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap a harvest if we do not lose heart! (Galatians 6:9)
In this season, I am most grateful for an albeit slow but steady progress in attitude and efforts made by A. From spurts of an easily frustrated and impatient learning disposition, he began to accept the consistent routine of memory work and consistent coaching from me in the recent months. I typically spend about 1 hour coaching him on his corrections from assessments/papers/school work 3-5 times a week in recent phase 2.
Once A reminded me, ” Aren’t we going to pray before revision?” I was glad he remembered to pray with me before we started as our routine thrived. Our prayers also developed from having focus on revision to a teachable heart and a willingness to learn. I noticed the big shift of mindset after this episode with him below.
A had remarked how he wished PSLE would quickly be over so he need not go through such hard work. With that, I asked him, “Do you know why you need to work hard and give your best?”
A muttered: ” For PSLE??” That was when I shared my perspective with him.
” PSLE is only a small phase of education. You still have four years of secondary life to manage. It will only get tougher in study rigours. Would you want to be constantly in this state of frustration in your school life? The earlier you learn to embrace the valuable habit of hard work, the more cheerfully you will take up your tasks. Putting forth of your best efforts now is not a matter of getting over with PSLE. It is a preparation for a better journey in your Secondary education.
The study habits and work ethics in your academics, projects and CCA that you train yourself in right now, will most likely become the work ethics of your future.
Don’t just study for the sake of PSLE. Study because we want to give our best, because God has given us a healthy and strong body, mind and spirit to work with. That will be a fragrant offering to God. “
Thereafter, I saw how God worked in him. He slowly embraced his revision in better spirits. He would chirp, “Come on, Mummy, let’s go!” indicating he was ready to revise with me.
On one occasion, he argued with me. He pointed out to me that even though they might acknowledge and say OK to what i asked them to do, i would still carry on to add many more comments on the same issue!
I was like….? Instead of reacting, I told him,’ 妈妈会去思想你所说的话，和不合理。(ok son, mummy will consider if your statement is reasonable) With that, our tension was diffused and he became receptive to what we were revising. Indeed, change begins with me.
God had taught me what it meant to be teachable too, and be humble in respecting my growing tweens!
On and off, I will write notes of encouragement or email him love notes to remind him of our love for him. I would also cook favourite dishes and surprise the kids with snacks.
After that incident, i saw the same reminder on how I could use social media as a powerful tool to encourage my kids.
We can be authentic and real without compromising encouragement and speaking the truth in love. That day, i emailed my boys since we had created accounts for them.
I also bought this book ‘ 100 need to know tips for mums of tweens and teens’ from SKS.
One top tip was to use social media as a positive message to our growing tweens! Always only message positively. Anything else, we can talk another time. I apologised to A for my poor behaviour in my email and for every email I send, be it logistics or reminders, I will always include short notes of love and encouragement. I think every little inserts I sent get added into each child’s love tank and will go a long way in strengthening the foundations of our relationship.
Let me end with a practical sharing on how I coped with A’s Chinese language learning.
For those who have been following us, you know how hard I try to instill the love for this language for my children through various ways. One main approach was through chinese story books. However, it did not help in his chinese academic results. No matter how creative one is, one needs content to work on. Content is best internalised through memorising after understanding and application of theories. At this stage, I needed to be more exam savvy and practical. There was no way out. He had to start memorising good words and phrases to manage his tests and coming exams.
His chinese teacher alerted me to the fact that in his 欢乐 伙伴课本6B Chinese Language for Primary Schools Textbook, there was a section which contains all the characters that have been learnt in Primary school. He should focus on learning them well. If you take a look at that segment, it has
- 识读字总表 (pg66-70)
- 识写字总表 (pg71-74)
- 多音总表我会读 (pg75-77)
- 量词我会用 (pg78-79)
- 词句百宝箱 (pg81-84)
- 长写错的字 (pg85)
This was a serious revelation to me! I had never knew there was this important index at the back that included all the new words covered for that year behind each textbook! Frankly, I was busy trying to source for good chinese story books and neglected the basic studying of their textbook. I thanked his teacher for this valuable tip she had given me!
However, with limited time, it is pure torture for us to just go through the list of words one by one! Many words had different meanings and yet the same intonation, we couldn’t possibly search online dictionary for every single words that we do not know.
I recalled a recommendation on Skritter App by lalahbanana. She has given a good review on this app which in turn became an important tool for A’s intensive learning! I am impressed by Lalahbanana’s passion in learning how to teach her children to embrace and love Chinese as a non native. Do visit her site for more details on Skritter App and more.
It was just the app I needed to help A learn all these words within a short period of time. As this was a case of late discovery on the textbook words to learn, I made use of this app to deal with the problem we had. This app was very useful as the characters once keyed into the app, it will provide you all the definition, pronounce aloud the word and give you the necessary practice needed for learning the character. It was a crash course of revision but a very effective one! We started this app only 2 weeks ago. It gives you 7 days trial but you have to sign up for it with payment. After the trial I decided it was worth the investment since I have 3 kids and this method of learning suits A’s learning needs. He loves anything on the phone or computer. It was plain drill and practice for now and he was willing to do that over manually writing on paper with pen.
What i really liked about the app was its ability to produce common phrases or idioms with the full definition given in English. It was not just learning of 1 character. I could search for common phrases for A to learn and then he could do the tests by himself to check if he had learnt the words.
I have created a few main categories for his learning.
1. Common mistakes 改正
Any mistakes he had made in his school work, would be included in this category.
2. Good phrases 词语搭配
Good phrases provided by the teacher’s notes or assessments would be included here. I found that 2 characters were easiest to search and mostly available with full explanations provided. Those that were not found, I split them into 2 characters for him to learn separately. I also made A write down the phrases on a card stock for easy reference.
3. Similar words
I also created a category that has similar radicals or words that might look similar to each other and cause confusion. This hopefully, will help him differentiate the words and help in his recognition of characters and their meanings more accurately.
Having said that, I do not like this mad cramming of rote learning in this manner. If I had known of the importance of their textbook content, I would have focused on reviewing the new words for each level’s textbook more conscientiously. I had imagined their spelling was sufficient. However, I did not pay much attention to those spelling words for revision. I had just simply focused on the school work and assessments that we can manage weekly.
For those who read this, please do not rush out and get P6 Textbooks for your child to learn at the other levels. This would be learning the syllabus in advance. I strongly discourage you from doing that. It is pertinent for your child to learn at the pace of the syllabus given so that your child will not get bored and listless when the teacher carries out the syllabus for your child’s level. Make use of the 生字表 (newly learnt characters) for that level (P3/4/5) for your child’s revision and expose them to more chinese story books instead of learning the textbook words in advance. I firmly believe in going with school syllabus pace.
Those who were taught outside school, the syllabus in advance, lose focus and interest in classroom setting. They are then bored and either get distracted in class or disrupt others. This will result in a poor habit of long term inattention in school. I feel extra enrichment or tuition for revision is fine as long as it is not school syllabus content taught in advance.
Therefore, this piece of information on the 6B textbook is strictly for those taking PSLE this year. If you are like me, at a lost as to how to help your child more effectively without tuition, this is something we can all work towards in helping our child cover the basics of Chinese revision.
*Note that after my post was published, a friend introduced me to another app called Quizlet. It is a free app that allows similar functions to skritter with games too. However, I have not used it personally. You can try it too! I will try it with my younger ones when this crunch time eases up. Meanwhile let me know if you have other tried and tested good apps to recommend!
Even in this last minute learning of Chinese, I am glad that A is taking it well and putting in more and more effort in learning cheerfully.
With that, I rest my case. I thank God for this journeying to Primary 6 with A and look forward to greater growth in his coming teen!
Let’s remember all the many years of small victories with positive growth; less tempers, means more self control, less arguments means more peaceable, less making same mistakes over and over again means more awareness and paying attention and so on.
Then kindness grows, unity builds, motivation slowly increases and faith gets more tangibly stronger. Both parents and children are in this together! Let’s count up our blessings!
For those in the same stage as us, let’s continue to trust God and
Count Up the Blessings not just to PSLE, but to heavenward in Christ Jesus.
I like how Ruth Simons’ reminder on how it is in our Becoming that counts and we will therefore take heart and behold Him who will complete the good work in us in His time. Have a fruitful holidays of hard work and also hearty fun!
For more posts on English Learning
- Top 3 English and Chinese story books review by my 3 kids
- English PSLE ecourse review
- Rib-tickling Creative Doodling Games
- Read to Me Campaign
- The Write Connection
- Current Affairs
- Preschool English Lapbooking
For more posts on Chinese Learning
- Spark Joy in Chinese Learning through Audio Books (Ximalaya)
- Free printable: Chinese Characters Illustrations Series 1
- Free printable: Chinese Characters Illustrations Series 2
- Free printable: Chinese Characters Illustrations Series 3
- Learn Chinese with inspiring biographoes, comical chickens and more
- Nightly Routine of reading Chinese Chapter books
- Our Favourite Chinese Picture Books
- Review of Chinese Comics, Chapter Books and More
- Resourceful Ways to Help Children Learn Chinese (四五快读 and More)
- Chinese Learning Video Series
- 47 Chinese Qns to ask instead of How was your day?
- Learning Chinese through a Chinese Translating App
- Chinese Copy Cat 1
- Growing In Touch with being a Chinese
For more posts on Learning
- Process of education starts from the heart of our home
- For what is worth in our academic pursuits?
- New Routine: Interest based 1 to 1 and chinese reading habits
- Teach the art of learning to learn?
- How do I maintain creativity in kids?
- Moving Minds, Heartening Hearts
- A loss nothing compared to gains in Sept Hols
- The heArt of growth mindset
- The heArt of growth mindset: I can learn anything!
- Smile it’s Exams! Great time to grow and glow!
- Raising motivated kids
- Small spaces for 3 growing hearts
- Younger Peek-a-day! Routine
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