Exam preparation tips for working parents

The blog has taken a back seat this month because I was solo parenting for 3 whole weeks since the start of the month. That was a first for me because hubby has never been away for such a long work trip and I even joked that he’s abandoned me to be the Merlion Mum and puke blood as I prepare Sophie for her SA 2 while he was in Sydney. 

It’s surprising how his absence made me realize how often we take each other for granted and I was so so relieved to have him home to share the parenting load. He’s my knight in shining armor and has lighten some of my responsibilities so that I can take a breather and finally blog about the month of October.

Another highlight in October was Sophie receiving her Edusave Merit Award.  Unlike the bursary award which is given by MOE, this was awarded by the GRC to acknowledge and encourage kids who were in the top 25% of their school’s cohort. It was a pity that hubby couldn’t be present for the ceremony but Sophie knows that daddy is so proud of her achievement. 

In addition to the award, Sophie received $70 Popular books vouchers which she intends to purchase more storybooks even though I was plotting on buying assessment books for the new school term. 

The award was no doubt a confidence booster for Sophie especially with her SA 2 round the corner and I hope it encourages her to continue to strive for her personal best. 

READ ALSOExam Preparation for Primary 2

Getting our kids on the right footing 

When it comes to studies, I believe that nurture is just as important if not more important than nature. I don’t see myself as a tiger mum despite the fact that I make Sophie diligently revise her homework everyday.

No honestly, compared to some mums I know I’m far from being a tiger mum who doesn’t pack her weekends with classes and have unreasonable demands on scores as long as she’s done her best. I hold fast that success has many pathways and is not merely defined by academic success. 

But I’m a firm believer that we need to help our kids lay a good foundation to reach their potential especially from Primary 1. Though as a working mum, I don’t have the luxury of time to coach Sophie but I believe that not everything can be outsourced to the teachers, or tutors and parental involvement plays a role to our child’s learning.

So these are some things I did to get Sophie on the right footing and I hope it gives parents especially working parents hope that we can play an active role in their learning journey without being too overbearing.

The importance of time management

When Sophie was in Primary 1, I gave her an after-school timetable detailing the time for meals, shower, homework, revision, TV and play time. To keep her meaningfully occupied, I bought assessment books for every subject and made her do daily revision. The work was nothing excessive, usually just 2 or 3 page for 2 subjects per day and my aim was to teach her to spend the time in the afternoon wisely.

Plus, my rationale is that it’s easier to get her used to this daily discipline of revision than to struggle with it when homework starts to pile up from Primary 2 and up. And trust me, she always manages to have time for reading and playing in the afternoon.

This discipline continued in Primary 2 and in fact she’s given more leeway this year where she has to plan her own time to get her To Do List of school work and daily revision checked off before dinner time. I’m also thankful that Sophie has  been responsible and self-motivated to get things done.

Being disciplined even in the small matters because they matter

One thing that I’ve inculcated in Sophie is to have a spirit of excellence as a student. 

Attitude is way way important that aptitude and it shows in the little things like handwriting. Having good handwriting shows that you take pride in your work. Being careful shows that you’re not sloppy and being disciplined shows that you’re always on top of things. 

It was a process of course as these things don’t come naturally, in fact some adults are still struggling to get their act together even at work too. Even till now I still see messy handwriting, careless mistakes, half hearted writing and the reminders, or read nagging mode in me is set off. 

It may seem like a hard thing to do initially but once she recognises the heart behind it, the intention of why it’s important, it was easier to get her on board to start making those changes. Slowly but surely we’ll get there somehow.

Helping kids to learn from mistakes

The last point, which is also the hardest, is teaching our kids that we learn from our mistakes. And the reason why it’s so hard, is because we’ve been brought up to see mistakes as a bad thing. 

But the problem is, once our kids have that mentality, they will not dare to speak up, they will feel judged for not knowing the right answer and they would rather say that they don’t know than to attempt to answer a question. 

This is also an area that I have to keep reminding myself and reframe it it in a way that doesn’t dampen Sophie to find out the answer and how to get there.

Finding your Parent Support Group

As parents, we can get all the help we need. Some may turn to enrichment centers, tuition if you feel limited by what you can teach. I’m definitely not judging and suspect I may go down that route when it comes to upper primary Maths and Science. 

You can also get into online support groups via Facebook groups, forums and I have a few WhatsApp group where mummies discuss and share resources which are helpful for our children. What I appreciate is also the focus on equipping our kids with lifelong skills that will help them go a long way into adulthood. 

Last but not least, parents do prepared to do your own homework too. For me, its planning for Sophie’s daily revision, marking her assessment books, going through her work with her and even reading with her. It’s easy for me with just one kid and I know how crazy things can get with 2 or more kids. 

 

Ultimately call it a kiasu parent or a well prepared parent, you be the judge yourself. When it comes to parenting, I’ve discovered that there is no one universal formula that works for everyone. We are all just doing what works best for our kids, our families and make tweaks along the way if it doesn’t work out.

Ultimately school life should be an enjoyable part of our kids childhood so let’s remember to give them time and space to develop at their pace and seek out what makes them uniquely them.

 

Here are some other useful links on primary school learning that you may be keen to read too.

 

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