Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Lost childhood

Dedicated to those "friends" of mine who were sarcastic to me when I used to complain about kids' school piling up homeworks and exams. They can be so cynical to tell me "only exams what? what's so difficult? Got so busy meh?" (I really hate this sentence - "got so busy meh?)  Best is those who dare tell me, I won't do it, I won't let child go for tuition or subject my kids to stress.I believe in letting my child rest blah blah

Now that they are in the situation as THEIR child grew up and into the primary school they go, I see one by one writing about not going out because of their kids' upcoming exams. And they are given lots of homeworks. So what happened to the "REST" their child was suppose to get? Huh! 

STFU. If I'm bad enough and wanting to make enemies, I'd dig up the past and tell them how rude they were to me before. Now that they're going through the same thing, don't they owe me an apology?

That was the reason why I decided to tone down in Facebook coz people tend to be keyboard warrior and critical of the way I do things. I know everyone has their own thoughts and they shouldn't be criticising others; likewise I don't criticise others. Others are really fake and only posts nice things happening to show off.  



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Studying overseas and Brain Drain

3rd October
During dinner, lil' one told me another girl is leaving the school for another country. Not the first time I'm hearing this, the last time when che-che was in P5 we also heard a lot of people they know well or acquaintance leaving the country. Of course, some are leaving because their dad has a job offer in another country, some left because they didn't want to end up with the high stress level. Some left after Sec 1, Sec 2. Technically anyone can leave anytime from N1 to ??? but you will see the increase in the non-honeymoon years. Some parents are willing to re-locate for their child to be a child. In Singapore, children can't be children. My girls sometimes are so exhausted that they crash out in the car, lil' one asks for a short nap which I'll gladly oblige. No point making her do any work when her brain is half zombie.
The stress level is high for students. Suicidal rates for students is high and unreported. More people going bonkers. I can't even take the stress even though I'm not the one sitting for exams. My girls tend to have exam anxiety. They do better without pressure; lil' one the 'not so intelligent of the two' can process her thoughts better without exams. Not all kids are like that. Some still can do well but statistics shows that our kids have high level of anxiety. They need a lot of courage for them to jump off their flat. I can't do it for sure, my legs will turn jelly and I can't imagine the pain I'd go thru with my head smashed to the ground; my legs contorted. But they decided to end it once and for all, even if they Ho they this PSLE, they still have so many hurdles to go through. Fighting with others for spaces.
I don't even know what's the approach of MOE, they keep changing. And then the bloody top ass Minister can say parents shouldn't be kiasu. Ask him to go and deal with tons of homeworks with not enough time for play during weekends. (I was asked so many times why I don't bring my kids out for jalan jalan. We can do it when our kids are younger; once they're older academic work take up their time. Why ask those stupid Math questions. And with everyone fighting for space coz everything is by merit, who wants to be left behind?

Lil' one Math texts (3rd Edition) has been changing,every year I have to wait until Dec before I can get hold of it. Out of curiosity I asked her tutor, a school teacher, what's the change now? And so I was told, the new approach is to have more thinking in-depth questions. So what's the purpose? Does it apply to real life? 2017 PSLE question that left many stumped:

Jess wants 200 ribbons of length 110 cm for a party. However, the ribbons were sold at 25 m per tape. How many tapes will Jess need?

Did you get 9 or 10? Why the heck she needs so many ribbons? Want to pack goodies bags also don't need to much ribbons right? 110cm some more!! What is she wrapping? Is she trying to mummify herself?

So the best way is if you can afford,  run away from it.

Given a chance, I would have packed our suitcase and say adieu to this country too! Che-Che told me we should have all gone over to Shanghai then, since her friend from San Jose and attended Indian Global school in Singapore was able to enter any school in Singapore - even the elite schools but will be placed in last class. Is this fair? The PSLE students cry and worked like shit to get the aggregate score but fail to enter RGS. Then someone not from the same standard can just cut in. Not fair?

9th October
Another article that brings up my point on how too stressed up kids are in Singapore. 

Extracted from :  http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/more-expat-students-catch-the-tuition-bug

More expat students catch the 'tuition bug'

Rise in competition, complex curricula among reasons cited for more joining tuition centres

Singapore has gained a reputation for being a "tuition nation", with surveys indicating that students and parents here spend up to $1.1 billion a year on tuition.
Now, the "tuition bug" has caught on among international students too, with tuition centres and agencies here reporting an exponential increase in the number of foreign students from international schools here seeking help for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education or International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations in recent years.
Mr Rum Tan, founder of SmileTutor tuition agency, said fewer than 50 international students had engaged its services back in 2014, making up less than 5 per cent of its total clientele.
But from January to October this year, the number of international students who have been matched with private tutors for one-to-one lessons through the agency has swelled to close to 1,000, or about 20 per cent of its total client base.
The students mostly hail from Britain and Australia, and come from schools such as United World College South East Asia, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Tanglin Trust School.
Three other centres or agencies also report similar trends.

Singapore has gained a reputation for being a "tuition nation", with surveys indicating that students and parents here spend up to $1.1 billion a year on tuition.
Now, the "tuition bug" has caught on among international students too, with tuition centres and agencies here reporting an exponential increase in the number of foreign students from international schools here seeking help for the International General Certificate of Secondary Education or International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations in recent years.
Mr Rum Tan, founder of SmileTutor tuition agency, said fewer than 50 international students had engaged its services back in 2014, making up less than 5 per cent of its total clientele.
But from January to October this year, the number of international students who have been matched with private tutors for one-to-one lessons through the agency has swelled to close to 1,000, or about 20 per cent of its total client base.
The students mostly hail from Britain and Australia, and come from schools such as United World College South East Asia, Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) and Tanglin Trust School.
Three other centres or agencies also report similar trends.
ADVERTISING

TUITION SUPPLEMENTS REGULAR SCHOOLING

FEELING THE HEAT
Students (who) were formerly segregated from each other are now in direct competition, both for spaces in schools and for applications to university, and this would have led to the spread of the tuition culture.
DR YUEN WEI HAO, head of operations for the Singapore branch of tuition agency Elite IB Tutors, on the tuition trend.
FILLING IN GAPS
There's not enough time in the day (for the school) to teach everything it needs to teach.
PROFESSOR ANDREW DELIOS, whose 15-year-old son studying in an international school here has been attending tuition classes for maths for the past few years.

Mr Taimoor Ghazanfar, owner of Student's Inn, which has two outlets, in Orchard and one-north, said it started out with 15 international students taking tuition for IB in 2004. Now, there are about 300 of them.
Quintessential Education, which provides IB tuition, reported a 50 per cent increase in the number of its international students from last year, while international students made up six in 10 of the students who engaged the services of tuition agency Elite IB Tutors last year.
Dr Yuen Wei Hao, head of operations for the Singapore branch of Elite IB Tutors, said the increased popularity of the IB programme here may have contributed to this trend.
Some local international schools offering the IB programme, such as St Joseph's Institution International, see a mix of both local and foreign students.
"Students (who) were formerly segregated from each other are now in direct competition, both for spaces in schools and for applications to university, and this would have led to the spread of the tuition culture from local to international students and families," noted Dr Yuen.
Mr Shaun Lim, a partner at Quintessential Education, said the "kiasu" (Hokkien for "a fear of losing out") culture may have caught on among international students, given that the curricula in schools have become "increasingly diverse and complicated".
However, Dr Yuen added that unlike many local students, most international students that he sees are not getting tuition for the sake of it, and are merely hoping to address gaps in their knowledge at school.
Mr Sachin Thukral, 43, who works in an IT company, has a 15-year-old daughter in an international school here who has taken tuition for mathematics and a few other subjects.
"She was already good in her studies, but because there was a change in academic expectations and the style of teaching in the new system, she needed some extra help," he said.
Even though tuition is not unheard of in his native India, he said that it is more common here.
"I see a lot more kids going for tuition here, and (the tuition industry) in Singapore is much more organised."
Professor Andrew Delios, who teaches at the National University of Singapore's business school, said that his 15-year-old son, who studies in an international school here, has been attending tuition classes for maths for the past few years.
The Canadian said that his main motivation for sending his child for tuition was not for fear of losing out to others, but about making sure that he has extra time to focus on subjects in his core curriculum that he is weak in.
"There's not enough time in the day (for the school) to teach everything it needs to teach."

_____________________________________________________________

To stress further on my point, che-che says the teacher in her school don't even teach much. She tends to understand her tutors better. So lucky she has tuition right?  Afterall my kids are not that smart! 
So what's the purpose of her going to school? I might as well home-school her? 

Even IB students also take tuition. Sigh.......

_________________________________________________________________

Brain Drain and studying Social Studies

Singapore has been facing the threats of brain drain. I don't know what's the statistics now but young parents tend to want to look for better pastures, after all our government is attracting foreign workers to fight with us over our rice bowls, we have no place here. (I get really pissed when service staffs are PRCs and they don't understand a word of English. Why the heck are they hired then? I can speak mandarin so it's ok but it somehow pisses me off.) They give free scholarship to overseas students in NUS/NTU while we Singaporeans have to pay?? What is this? Not taking care of our own people.   

In 2014, around 212 000 Singaporeans were living overseas in total, compared to 2004, when the number was only about 157 800. More than half of these people have a university degree. In 2012, it was estimated that about 1200 Singaporeans give up their citizenship every year, according to former DPM Teo. There are 13.6 migrants for every 1000 Singaporeans as of October 2016."

Given a chance, with the political shit that is going on. I'd prefer to leave. Homes are cheaper; cars are cheaper. More holistic lifestyles, there's a time to study and play for the kids. There's time for us to take a break from work instead of slogging like shit, and having to pay high tax for this and that. Not exactly a good place to live in apart from the fact that Singapore is really safe.    

So, with the concerns of brain drain, there comes the concern of propaganda and brain washing the kids in Singapore by making them study Social Studies. 

Some interesting reads I came across :

Like what che-che said even when she's answering SS questions, she cannot be seen oppressing against the government. .........

Monday, October 2, 2017

She has no choice now...

but to put her card in the clear holder for her Saturday's class at MSQ, coz they tap their cards in a gantry like manner unlike the one in USQ. Every centres has a different way of scanning their cards.
She's already looking forward to her class with this teacher that she likes, as she also have schoolmate, who used to be in the same Higher Chinese class as her.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Mid Autumn Festival

For the second year running, MCST organised Mid Autumn Festival activities. 

But we didn't go, first reason the baby of the family wouldn't want to be seen holding and walking with lantern (tho' she blends in well with her small size). She says it's "so lame. so childish." Secondly, they'll be cooped up at home either clearing their school homeworks or tuition homeworks.  With final year exams looming next week for che-che and 3 weeks time for lil' one, time is so precious now. sad life right? 
As for today's event, I wasn't aware they were going to do a walk-about. The girls told me they saw people walking past our house. (I snoozed on lil' one's bed at that time) Lil' one's study table faces the window, so she caught sight of it when she was doing her homework. Che-Che was in the dining area having her replacement tuition. 
So different huh? My kids used to have so much free time when they were younger but not when they're older. SCHOOL! 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Last day of table hogging

Today marks the last day of me hogging tables in United Square after 3 years. 3 years! I was a familiar face in Macs on Thursdays as I wait for the girls to finish their tuition at TLL. Usually hog the place from 2+ to 7pm.
It was only this year that we had to wait from 2+ to 5pm as I withdrew them out from their English tuition, lil' one remained in their Science class. But sometimes I wait alone as che-che needs to stay back in school.

三年 - 有点舍不得. Free air-con; free wi-fi. I lug things to do, papers to mark, laptop to do some typing. Anything that keeps me occupied except enjoying korean drama or staring into blank spaces or shopping.    

The things most parents in Singapore do. Sit and wait for their kids. Oh! I must admit there were days when I really needed a place to sleep, I'd go over to the beauty salon for a facial. Service sucks. Three times I went; three times I had lotion getting into my eyes! I dunno how the lady do it, my usual beautician at another place don't do that. But... I desperately need the flat bed. There were days too where I'd go for a shoulder and back massage where I bought a package from Wan Yang. The good thing is that I can go to any Wan Yang with the card, so sometimes I do go to the one in Parkway.   

Next week onwards, lil' one will go over to Mountbatten Square on Saturdays. Will blog about it the next time why the switch.  

Meanwhile, today's the last day I can pack that nice Japanese food from the foodcourt. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Weirdest dream

I must be overtly exhausted that I dreamt during my morning 1hr+ sleep (usually I'll plonk back to bed after the girls leave the house for another hour or so extra sleep. 

I dreamt that I was awoken by che-che who was in her school uniform, saying that I had forgotten to pick her up from school. And it's already 12pm now. It was her Math paper and they were dismissed the moment they finish their paper, which was 10am. She waited for me and called me a few times to no avail, therefore she took a bus home herself. 

I jumped up from bed! It's so surreal and I kept checking the date and time on my phone. 
"Shit! Is she having her Math paper today? 
27th Sep. 9am. 27th Sep - nope. Her paper starts in October." 

That was a startled wake up call. Anyway, that dream can wake me up but not the phonecall from Guardhouse. 

sigh.....I'm too tired. Which reminds me too that I need to jot down the dismissal time into my phone today. 


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bed angel

I can finally do a bed angel!! I'm not squashed with the one body width space left for myself. See that lil' one - she may be small but she takes up so much space on the bed. And we get kicked n punched by her many times. 

Lil' one has been sleeping on our bed for more than 1 month. Think it was 2 months?? Honestly, I can't remember, I need to check the man's passport. Usually when he's not in SIN, I'll let her sleep with me (save electricity) and I just wanna hug that nottie girl. He was on a long trip, after he got back she continued sleeping with us coz daddy wants to hug her. Coupled with the passing of my MIL on 14th Aug (wow! It's been a month already?), she continued sleeping with us. I asked her to return back to her room but she dare not. It's really strange, the same thing happened when my FIL passed on. Che-che was so frightened of the dark and needed KZ to be there while she sleeps. It took her a Long time before she overcome the fear. 
Tonight, she's squeezing on Che-Che's bed. I think in 2 days, she will get kicked out then she'll come to us again. 

Meanwhile I will enjoy the freedom I have. 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Funny

Year end holiday : 

Today, che-che being the more adventurous than lil' one, asked me if we could camp outside. "It'll be so nice." When I highlighted to her that the time we're going, with that elevation there's probably going to be snow. And her no-longer-looking-like-puppy-eyes widened in excitement. "So.... it'll be fun right?" When I explained that she'll probably be buried dead the next morning she burst out laughing and suddenly she realised that "yah! the tent cannot take the weight of the snow. It will collapse". At that moment, I suddenly felt I was smarter than her. After that, I told her that's the reason why some people can be locked inside their own house when snow pile up through the night and they have problem opening their main door and leaving the house. They'll need a huge scrapper. My dunno-where-her-brain-went-to girl can tell me "I will start a fire and it will melt. No need to scrap."

            

My lil' grandma is 11


Can't believe how I can endure this lil' conniving; talkative nature girl for the past 11 years.

She never made my life easy for me. Only a trouble-maker. One who never listens to me and would do things her way. One who..... ummm..... knows what she wants and argues her way through. One who tries to manipulate her dad - and he usually gives in to his most doted daughter. 

Here's to my lil' one / nottie girl / lil' grandma :

Happy Birthday, mei-mei
Love you lots!    

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Angry!

She must be the stupidest person on earth, so stupid that she can be manipulated. 

Found out today that she has a pair of not brand new scissors  in her gigantic pencil case, which I've never seen before. Then asked her where was her Tsum Tsum scissors, she couldn't answer me. Rather, she chose not to answer me. Then my sixth sense triggered alarm. I asked if she changed her scissors with someone else, she said yes and it's the other girl that asked for the exchange. I am really mad with her? Why? 

This is in her pencil case - Paperstone Teddy scissors which costs $2.
$2!!!!!



In exchange for something similar to this, except it's Tsum Tsum. It's compact and nice for school. And this cost around $15 - $16. She stupidly changed, not knowing how to reject, something that is 8x cheaper. Any girls who sees it will definitely like it lah! 

Damn stupid!  





It was part of her birthday present last year, and within a year it's gone!  

No wonder people like to rummage through her pencil case lah! One pen was stolen recently. The pen she insisted that she really likes it and it'll be part of her birthday present this year. It was stolen and yet I had to buy another one for her within the next few days just not to disappoint her. But in the end, she was the one disappointing me. 

I don't care. I told her I'd give her until this Friday. I want to see the scissors back in her pencil case, and she can return this god-damn cheapo scissors to that girl. (Even the scissors I bought from Popular cuts better than this Paperstone scissors.) If not, I'll take $30 from her as compensation. Harsh? I don't care! This girl needs to be taught a lesson. Inflated price - yes. 2x more, to appease my anger.

This isn't the first time I'm taking money from her also. Months before I made her pay for her correction tape refills. She was always wasting correction tapes at home, all you need to do is to slide the tape across once right? She has to slide a few times. And I heard her remarked before, "It's okay, we have alot of refills at home. Our cupboard is like Popular like that." I heard it, I don't like it and told her the next time she's paying for it. She thought I had forgotten about it, so when she asked to buy correction tape I said I'm not paying. She said she'll pay me at home, I rejected and told her to count the money she has at home first, I don't want to be owed. So, for the next few days she had to use another correction tape to "last her a few days" coz' I didn't want to make a deliberate trip down to Popular. On the day, she brought out her coins (she has 2 piggybanks. I told her she can save 30% /70% into the 2 piggybanks. 30% will be accessible for her use. 70% is the can't touch it at all) from her 30% -savings piggybank and started counting. She attracted the attention of one staff in the bookstore, she was pitying her and said I should pay for her. I told the lady I won't give in, she needs to be taught a lesson. 
She dare not sulk and try to pull some tricks on me, but she did mention that her hard-earned savings of $13+ is left with $2+. I had to take the credit of the extra 5% discount she was given. Fast forward and about 3 weeks ago I asked her how many refills left. She said she's still "left with alot. I feel heart pain so I dare not waste my correction tape now."           

Remind myself, I shall not be soft with her when she cannot come up with $30 from her 30% piggybank.  

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New task

The day before yesterday, che-che suddenly asked me about my DSLR and asked me to bring it for our US trip. I told her I'm not bringing and that's when she volunteered that she would help to carry it for me.
The reason why I am hesistant is because I'm always the one lugging heavy stuffs with me during holidays while the rests seems to have nothing with them. I carry camcorder (yup! old- fashioned), one compact Sony camera, maybe extra batteries, tissues (both dry and wet), 2 folded plastic bags, 2-3 sandwich bags, a few rubber bands, plasters, disposable ponchos, my handy Swisscard (my best investment I bought from ZRH ever!) UMBRELLAS! Hubby always have no habit in carrying all these, citing that even bringing medicines overseas is a waste of space and only makes the luggage heavy EX-SIN. Asking me not to bring out umbrellas at all when we're out but so many times I rescued everyone from sudden downpour. I'm always able to have a plastic bag ready too if we need it for grocery shopping. Then only did he realize the importance, at least for the few recent trips he'd help to put one umbrella in his bag.    
Anyway, che-che was so excited that she tried the camera and kept asking me what is this button; that button. Then she expressed regrets that she didn't pay attention during photography class in Primary school. I don't even have the time to sit down and study the camera though I bought this like 6 years ago? I guess I never got the opportunity for a free time to use it yet as a hobby? Yes, I love photography but ........ parenting has made me give up (for the time being) my interests.   

I gave her a task of doing some reading up on how to use the camera after her SA2s. 

Perhaps I shall give her the task of figuring out how to use the Silhouette Cameo as well. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Teacher's Day 2017

For the second time, I'm not volunteering in the school. If I'm not wrong, the first time I didn't volunteer was in 2012? The year that KZ, my ex-domestic helper, left and I have no one to pick and take care of lil' one who would end her kindy at 11.30am.
This year I chose not to help as well. Firstly I realised that the "free" timing given to the teachers are getting shorter and shorter. For 2 years, the talented kids get to perform for their teachers which we can watch the broadcast in the Hub. I don't think I want to use my time to volunteer for only 1-2 hours and then I get stuck somewhere coz I can't go home (makes no sense to make the journey to and fro) as dismissal is early. I can use the time to tidy the house. Secondly, too many things have happened for the past two months and I was so mentally and physically drained. I need the time to rest or rather knowing me I'll be cleaning the house. Well, better than piling work up and then work like shit the next day right?

The gifts
I'm glad that I'm not a procrastinator, I tend to plan things ahead. So I got the Teachers Day gifts done in early August. When hubby wasn't around in Singapore, I was able to mess up the whole dining table without clearing anything up until it was done in 2 days.  And I'm so glad I did, coz of the demise of my mother-in-law the wake and nitty gritty stuff took up a whole week. Although that was like 2 weeks before Teachers Day. I don't think I would like to rush through especially when it comes to crafts. But then again, my hands and legs are fast. If I'm able to put a birthday party favors prep within 1 week, this Teachers Day project is easy peasy, should take me lesser time. 

It's personalised coaster this year. Some time in July, wrecked my small brain to think of what to gift the teachers. It has to be something useful and light because my girls tend to give more than 4 gifts. They don't just give their teacher for that respective year, which I know many kids do. And something that they can help a little, to show that they DID make a gift themselves. 

I did the wordings and the pictures, printed them on photo paper. Love the quality. 
I did a sample to see how the outcome would be like and I love it. Doesn't look too commercial but still not so amateur-ish work.

The actual work : - I asked the girls to help with the mod podge. It's really fun. And what's more fun is the thrill of peeling the glue away from my skin after that. I don't know if you do this but I'll deliberately put more glue on my palm and wait for it to dry and start peeling it off. Haha! Aricia is too girly, didn't like the idea of crafts and stickiness. Che-che was just like me, smiling sheepishly and peeling glue off.  

     

The next step has to be done by me coz the smell is really pungent. After 3 layers of mod podge, I lay them on newspaper in the yard and start spraying them with acrylic sealer. This will make the coaster waterproof. I left it to dry overnight. And the next day, after housework, started packing them up in a cellophane bag and baged it in the paperbag. 
Project 2 : Only 4 to prepare. These are for the teachers who would be receiving gifts from both girls. Mainly their piano teacher and 3 school teachers who taught the both of them. Must be something useful, so it's personalised bottle. I was suppose to design and use the Silhouette to cut but I didn't have the time to figure out how to use it. I used Martha Stewart's silkscreen adhesive to paint monogrammed fonts on the plastic bottle, hoping that it'll work on plastic. 
I managed to get hard paper (240g) from Art Friend and made 4 plain boxes. Thank goodness, I kept my scoring board, (I gave away some scrapbooking stuffs when I made the move so this is one of the items that I kept) thus I was able to score the lines beautifully without having any creases on the hard paper.     


Last minute project. So, this is the reason why I say it's good that I start preparing gifts was before hand. I realised that I had missed out 2 tuition teachers. *slap head* To think that I was making the count some time in July. Simple design and paste onto chocolate. Cheap and easy. I baged them in cellophane bag.  

That's it for this year. Will start wrecking my brain again next year. Time to rest, Ms Small Brain.
     

No birthday party

It's 21 days, 3 possible weekends, to lil' one's birthday and she has been bugging me for one lunch date with her friends.

Actually I felt kinda guilty that she does not have a birthday party every year like che-che. She did mention weeks before but I didn't make any move that a party was to be under way. I was too tired to prepare anything. I'm going to make life easier for myselpaf this year, I guess I also won't prepare any Children's day gifts for her classmates, after last year's mama drama.

She asked for a lunch date with her friends, but how was I suppose to organise or to give invitation card at such last minute? Just one more day, it's school hols. I can't plan anything during school week, even if I did, invitation card has to be given out before the school holidays right? What more if I wanted to plan something during the school holidays. Sigh......

She didn't have any party last year coz we were suppose to keep a low profile( fengshui reason). This year, I was deliberating in June. Anyway, the unexpected happened and we're supposed to be mourning, you think I dare to suggest this?

Maybe next year? After PSLE? Do a post birthday party? 



 


Monday, August 28, 2017

Aw... I have a magic house too!

This video touches so close to my heart. As I always nag at the girls for messing up the house 
"the house magically appears clean and tidy every afternoon"

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Planning for 2018

I know this sounds crazy, really crazy. It's coming to the end of Term 3 and I have to think ahead for next year as well as the current final exams. I already have a yearly calendar printed out (to see everything in a glance) and marked the girls' major exam next year. Yes, you're reading it correct. I don't have one kid taking her major exam next year BUT TWO! 我会变成白发妈妈


I need to plan. I always plan. The square rigid me is too systematic. However I made the mistake of not being too square planning well during che-che's P6, I didn't know how fast things would go when P6 came. I procrastinated in her revision in P5 and thought that once the new year starts she could start her studying and revising. It was horrible, trying to cope with the extra workload from school; tuition works; tuitions; SYF. We basically got pushed by the big waves from one month to another; one test to another. Chop chop fast fast. No time to breath, almost as bad as a woman about to give birth trying to do her deep breathing in between contractions. I've got my life vest on, I guess I won't sink

So this time, I had the dates of when this year's (2017) P6s and Sec 4s exams are and jot them down for 2018. There could be slight changes definitely but at least I'll know when I need to mugged the two girls; when I need to start confiscating che-che's handphone.  

Sigh...........why do I feel like I'm going for war? 

I hope I'll manage better with sufficient time for revisions this time round. Things are slightly different between the two girls. Because che-che was in Handbells - niche CCA, extra time and commitment was needed for practices plus SYF was so timely in her final year. So for lil' one's case, I was at peace when she couldn't get into Dance (as SYF would also be in her P6 year) and gladly chose modular CCAs for her. But it also means no DSA option.

I've moved some of lil' one's tuitions to weekends so that she can have some time during the weekday to finish up school homeworks and do some revisions. I can't have the best of both worlds, so I'm taking some precious family time for the kids' studies. 
Recently, I've cut down one tuition. She asked for it and assured me that she'll do her best for this SA2 as well as next year. I told her if she don't maintain her standard for her composition (normally scoring 37 to 38 out of 40 for chinese compo. English compo? Total opposite lor! ), I'll put her back. Threaten only lah! I can't wait to lax... all I need to do every Wednesdays from now onwards is to bring her to I12 to do her homework and pack dinner. She has approximately 1hr 45mins before I pick che-che up from school, hopefully that will help to keep us sane.       
   
Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Nature vs Nurture ability

Though che-che is strong in her Math since primary school, I saw her struggling abit in secondary school. 

It has come to the point that I realised in the class chat group parents were complaining about the incompetent teacher. She was at the disadvantaged when her classmates are all having Math tuition and that they credit their marks to their tutor instead of the school teacher. Ha! So much of conviction from the Ministry that "all schools are good schools" and "why stress kids with tuitions outside, they don't need tuition because teachers are well trained blah blah blah" BULLSHIT! 

I grouched the fact that my girl apart from her genuine mistakes had also lost some marks coz teachers wanted to see a certain format, which my girl don't do sometimes. She has the answer but worked in a different way. Which explains why in primary school I can't rely on answer sheet to mark her work but wrecked my brains on why she did that method. My hair turned white real fast. Lo and behold, I wasn't aware of a spy planted inside the chat group. An admin staff. (OMG! Luckily I wasn't scolding the school) In less than an hour, Math HOD called me to clarify. Coincidently he was her teacher in the second half of Sec 1 and I did see improvements under his guidance. He talked to me about her and said yes they need to see certain format. Sigh... what to do when I have a stubborn girl who refuses to listen to us?! Then her marks dipped in Sec 2. Scary..I don't even feel so nervous when it comes to seeing the bearish unit trust value. 
A parent who thought I was still residing in Punggol messaged me and offered to help che-che. It was really nice of her to offer me help despite the fact that we've never met before. 

And so the journey of getting her a Math tutor started in Sec 2. I hope my husband reads this coz he always have the belief of "not having tuitions last time and I survived" - great! I saw his O levels cert. Ahem....

She scored better definitely after the tuition and I ponder .... what do markers look for. Naturally capable mathematician or a programmed nurtured mathematician? 

For the first time too, she scored full marks for her paper. Something which she keeps quiet but one day she came into the car and said somebody from her class must have spilled the beans coz people from other classes came to know of it. And she was quite frustrated coz she wanted to keep it under wraps. Well, of course I'm happy for her and hope she'll maintain this. 

They are so different

Both were snuggled warmly in my tummy but they're so different, something that is predestined by their genetics components.

The difference between my two girls :

Noise Decibels
Athena
1) very quiet. But since she was the only child / grandchild at that time (enjoying it for 4 years), she talked to us a lot but was shy when approached by strangers

Aricia
1) very noisy. They're the opposite of the spectrum. Basically she's the Miss Congeniality, doing PR with everybody. The only worry I have is that she's too friendly and too trusting that she'd follow strangers.

Gangster and the Law-abiding Cop
Athena
1) The most obedient of the two. Tell her to sit; she sits.
2) So obedient that she lets the school Prefect to take down her name when she was late
3) Waits for me at the gate no matter how late I am. She doesn't move an inch.

Aricia
1) Tell her to sit; she asks me why and if she can sit with one leg up etc..
2) Little gangster ran away when she was late for school, maybe her small size helped her. Nobody can see her. Must nickname her the Ninja.
3) I'll strike 4D if I see her standing at the gate waiting for me. Even that sacred 2secs is precious for her though she spots my car. She'll play and be somewhere...and then you hear the loud shout as she runs out "wait for meeeeeeee......"


Sotong and the Meerket
Athena
1) The sotong who is always in her la-la land. Day dreaming, out of focus that teacher has to call her spirit to come back
2) She does her school homework diligently but needs me to handhold her to double check it's done.
3) The sotong who prefers not to be touched and would prefer to hide behind reefs. Would sit down quietly and praying hard that teacher don't call her to answer questions. Better still, you don't bother her; she won't bother you. The best thing is, I know she is hidden somewhere safe.

Aricia
1) The meerket who is ultra alert to her surroundings. That cute petite mammal with that sparkly eyes.
2) independent
3) Wah....what can I say about her? She shouts out answers; she keeps raising her hand. She's running around in class that teacher notices something small darting in class. The worry I have is - she's sticking her head out to see things (just imagine a group of meerkats all standing upright) , she might get killed by stray bullets


Tactless and the Tactful
Athena
1) Always so tactful in her words, to us and to her friends. Ehh.....I meant when she was young since I need to compare the same age as lil one.
2) I remember when she was much younger, I asked her if I was fat. She accidentally blurred out yes but then after that said something nice about me.

Aricia
1) Blurts out words without thinking.
2) The question I asked che-che before. Kids don't lie. Never mind, she has to korek korek more and offend me more. I wish I can throw a dagger at her.


Zen and the Rush hour NYC
Athena
1) Ever so relaxed about things around her. Throw her on a deserted island, she'll sit there and meditate

Aricia
1) Kan Cheong spider always rushing around. Throw her on a deserted island, she'll be running around the whole island trying to find ways to escape. Then she'll try to swim but decides to swim back to shore; then next minute will go to another spot and try to swim out. Just imagine the rush hour in NYC, cars honking




Sunday, August 20, 2017

Singapore students suffer from high levels of anxiety: Study (from Straits Times)

extracted from :http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/education/spore-students-suffer-from-high-levels-of-anxiety-study

Higher proportion worry about tests and grades compared with OECD average

Singapore students may be topping the charts in mathematics, science and reading, but it is exacting a heavy emotional price on them.
An international study suggests that Singapore students, known worldwide for academic excellence, also experience high levels of anxiety and have been exposed to bullying.
The findings emerged in a study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which conducts the triennial tests called the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa). The study polled 540,000 students from 72 countries and economies to look at the connection between well-being and achievement in the Pisa tests.
One question that the 5,825 Singapore students who were polled did not have to answer was on how satisfied they were with life, but their responses to the other questions revealed that most were anxious about tests and grades
Students were asked to respond to statements such as: "I often worry that it will be difficult for me to take a test"; "I worry I will get poor grades at school"; "I feel very anxious even if I am well prepared for a test"; "I get very tense when I study for a test"; and "I get nervous when I do not know how to solve a task at school".
It emerged that their anxiety levels were significantly higher than the OECD average for all five questions. For example, 66 per cent of students across all OECD countries said they were worried about poor grades at school, but among Singapore students, it was 86 per cent.
In Singapore, 76 per cent reported feeling very anxious for a test even if they were well prepared, compared with the OECD average of 55 per cent.
This could be related to the fact that Singapore students were also more driven. One question asked if they wanted to be top of their class. Some 82 per cent said they did. The OECD average was 60 per cent.
The study found that students who reported they wanted to do well in school performed better. On average, the most motivated students scored the equivalent of more than one school year higher in Pisa than the least motivated ones.
When asked to comment on the finding on test anxiety, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the 15-year-olds in Singapore who were surveyed comprised largely of Secondary 4 students preparing for their N- and O-level examinations.
"Hence... it is understandable that our students are likely to be more anxious about doing well," it said, noting that in the same survey, more than eight in 10 of Singapore's 15-year-olds also said they enjoyed learning science.
"So, we recognise that while our students are anxious about doing well in examinations, their enjoyment in learning science has not been dampened," it said.
Regarding the correlation between motivation and stress, it acknowledged both sides of the coin. "Research has shown that stress at appropriate levels can be a motivating force to energise us for the challenges we face. That said, we recognise that while there is no certainty of causality, having overly high achievement motivation is also correlated with anxiety levels," it said.
"Hence, while we are encouraged that our students are highly motivated to learn and achieve, we are cognisant that this must not come at the expense of their well-being," said the ministry, adding that schools put in much effort to help students understand the meaning of their learning, instead of focusing solely on their achievements.
"Ultimately, stress and anxiety is a personal response arising from one's expectations and the ability to manage challenges. In the light of this, our schools focus on helping students gain a wider perspective, looking beyond achievement, by helping them manage their expectations and understand their strengths and weaknesses. This will also help our students develop more resilient and positive mindsets."
National Institute of Education don Jason Tan said the finding on high anxiety levels is not out of step with a school system that uses exams to channel students into different secondary and post-secondary pathways. "To get ahead, a student has to not only do well, but well above his peers. So it is not surprising that our students are anxious about exams and grades," he said, noting that in recent years, the MOE has introduced various measures to lessen stress and anxiety.
"The changes to the Primary School Leaving Examination scoring system and aptitude-based admission into post-secondary institutions are among the measures that will hopefully lessen anxiety and increase the enjoyment of learning among our students."