Motivational Mondays – Reeling in the KS mum in me

It’s a funny thing how peer pressure can bring up the sleeping kiasuism in me. To me I’ve always thought that it’s important for Sophie to have a carefree childhood. And that means no enrichment classes, lessons like art, dance and swimming don’t count because they are non-academic.

But early this year, when we started to shortlist a primary school for her at five, we got worried about her Chinese language ability as we think we might be sending her to a SAP school (only because it’s the closest for us). To help gain her confidence and interest in Chinese, we’ve started speaking and reading to her more in Mandarin, only to have her reply that she don’t like Chinese.

I asked around and Berries was like the default or rather most popular Chinese enrichment centre and signed her up. But to my horror, they had a long waiting list… Granted that I was looking at a weekend morning class, the waiting still took more than half a year to get her into a class! So if you’re looking at sending your kids to Berries, you’ve been warned. She’s taking well to the class and recently just switched to another branch at our preferred timing and thankfully she’s likes the teachers there.

Another incident that got me worried was when my group of mummy friends started to post what they kids were learning in school. When I saw the words they had for spelling, I was shocked! Ambulance, motorcycle, aeroplane for a five-year-old? Don’t even get me started on their Chinese spelling list. But wait, are they already supposed to know all this?

I know that Sophie is given spelling in her CC but don’t really know what’s on her list as they do it all in school. In fact, her Chinese homework stopped for a while and I was starting to question if maybe the teacher should bring it back so that she’ll learn to be disciplined to finish her homework before play on weekend.During the next few days, reading to her was like a test when I got her to read on her own and even write down words to learn and spell.

Yes, I was starting to sound like a typical KS mum and I didn’t like it one bit. I know that it’s important for our kids to learn at their own pace and it’s okay to encourage them to learn more. After all they are like sponges and able to absorb quickly. But it was my attitude that shocked me because I was getting frustrated when she still couldn’t differentiate between ‘b’ and ‘d’ and my words were less than kind to her.

I had to remind myself that she’s only less than one and a half years ago from primary school and by then she’ll have a lot more learning to do and less play to enjoy. As a mum, encouraging her to learn is one thing, but to try to impose and force it upon her is a sure way to kill her interest and motivation.

So I’ve learnt to loosen up a little and just enjoy our bedtime reading together with no other agenda. Let’s hope that this mum her don’t get into her KS gear soon…


Do you also have a child who is entering primary one soon? How are you keeping a balance for them between play and school?


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Comments: 14

  1. DinoMama August 25, 2014 at 8:40 am Reply

    Chill!!! As I have told a few of my friends. Don’t get overly stressed up on this. It’s good that you are realizing this so early, that means you have ample time to prepare her for P1 Chinese. Do check out with her kindy Chinese teacher what is being taught and how the kindy is preparing the kids for P1 Chinese, after that you reinforce at home. You can converse with her in Chinese more and make sure she reply back in Chinese too. My feel is that you do not need to send her to any Chinese enrichment class yet if you are able to read and practice some Chinese words with her yourself. Use 四五快读, it makes teaching and learning easier for both of you. From there expand to other activities which I am sure you can google and find out. Cheers and 加油!

    • Susan August 25, 2014 at 1:02 pm Reply

      Thanks for the reassurance Jennifer. I’m reminding myself not to be overly stressed at this point and remember to instill a hunger for learning and make it fun for her. Her Chinese teacher have been doing a good job in the kindy and we do converse more in Chinese with her. Her Chinese teacher actually laughed at me and said we should not mix two languages to speak with her so that she’ll pick up the correct Chinese terms when speaking Chinese with us.

      • DinoMama August 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm Reply

        Yes don’t mix! Look at Z, he speaks English first, fluently too then when he speaks Mandarin, aiyo! can die lah lol

  2. mingyuan August 25, 2014 at 9:01 am Reply

    If you’ve seen my one of my latest post, you’d know I’m on the other spectrum. I don’t have much expectations now of my girl except to keep her inquisitive and curious. I suppose the focus WL and I have at this point in time is to develop her skillsets rather than knowledge. I don’t know if this is the right/better way… but looking at the girl playing and laughing through her childhood now is good enough for me. For primary school’s stress, i guess I’ll take it when it comes next year. -_-“

    • Susan August 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm Reply

      I’ve just read it and realise that maybe these two girls are not much different with their little scheming minds. But to have a mind like that does make them quite smart I think. Street smart 🙂

  3. Mum's calling August 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Finally did my first motivational link up with you, after eying on it for months.

    I know! I can be really KS at times. I do alot of self teaching, just so that I can save up on the ‘outsourcing’ fees. It really does get worrying when preparing our child for P1. Trust the cc, I’m sure they will prepare her well.

    • Susan August 26, 2014 at 11:59 am Reply

      You’re doing a good job homeschooling and imparting biblical principals to your two Karen. I’m not very patient and will get frustrated when I see Sophie ignoring me when I try teaching her. Homeschooling is really not for me.

  4. mummy chan August 25, 2014 at 5:56 pm Reply

    Touched on the same topic recently and to be honest, i can ignore about other kids’ accomplishments easily by telling myself every kid is special and unique, provided my own kids are not too far off.. lol.. doing my 1st link up with you, thanks for all your sharings and inspiration!

    • Susan August 26, 2014 at 1:55 pm Reply

      I’m sure you know what I mean. But I think that it’s also because Sophie can sometimes be a very reluctant learner that’s why I’m more worried. She can be very shabby in her handwriting and tell me it’s OK. Or say it’s hard and not try her best.

  5. Lyn lee August 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm Reply

    One trick I learnt – surround yourself with the right types of mums. Then you won’t get unduly stressed. Heh heh!

    • Susan August 26, 2014 at 1:53 pm Reply

      Good advice!

  6. Angelia August 25, 2014 at 10:14 pm Reply

    Hi Susan,
    May I offer another view? I don’t find your attitude KS at all. What is KS would be those who send their kids to all sorts of enrichment so that their kids can be ‘smart’ enough in Primary school. They send kids to Chinese, English, Mind Champs, Shichida classes, music, swimming, gym AND Art classes throughout the week! This is KS to the max. And I do know of such a person btw.
    This post below is on my take on learning
    And the below is on what you’ve mentioned about reading with no agenda. But I do it only during reading time. I still believe in a balance of disciplined learning and play.

    I really feel you’re on the right track and we’ve still got time to help our lil ones now while we can afford to. (My no.2 is like Sophie’s age 5yo) . I trust you know your limits as to when the KS gear comes out…lol. Having said that, I don’t mean to be presumptuous about teaching and learning. Just sharing my heartfelt concerns especially if we want to send our kids to our Primary system. Having seen the polarity of those with good foundation and those without as a teacher also jerked me to reality of the stress involved for those with poor foundation. ; p Sorry for such a loooong post! ; p

    • Susan August 28, 2014 at 1:13 am Reply

      Hi Angelia,
      Sorry for the late reply. I do agree that some parents can be quite extreme and send their kids to too many enrichment classes in a bid for them to be “successful” or go further in life. I’ve decided that that’s not what I want for Sophie and I want her to enjoy the classes that she take. I’m totally with you on instilling in kids a good learning attitude and a teachable spirit.

  7. […] Motivational Mondays – Reeling in the KS mum in me […]

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