Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year resolutions

Life is a continuum but there's something about the New Year that tends to delineate a new chapter in this ongoing journey.

I feel this is especially so for parents because we see our kids starting a brand new school year. While school is not usually kids' favourite place, the first day of school is always fun and exciting. We were helping our kids pack their bags for today - new school bag, new stationery, new books. This ritual of renewal symbolises hope and optimism - a chance to wipe the slate clean of old mistakes and make new discoveries. Who will my new teacher be? What new friends will I make? The anticipation that something good will happen has not yet been squelched by the daily grind.

As parents, it's perhaps timely to make new resolves, not to dwell on our mistakes or lament at how fast our babies grow (can do that lah, but not too much) but to self-reflect on how we can continue to be positive agents in our kids' lives. I don't recommend making ambitious, grand gestures like "I will not yell at my kids anymore!" that you're likely to break even before the school bus comes around. Just baby steps, like "I will make 5 minutes a day to find out how my kid's day went."

For me, 2009 will be especially momentous in terms of the education calender - as you know, Lesley-Anne will be taking her PSLE this year, marking the end of the first phase of her education journey. It will be a stressful year but for now, it's only 2 Jan, the slate is still clean, the year is still full of possibilities ahead.

A friend told me last week, "I don't get the point of blogging." I told him it's about the sharing. Issues often get clearer for me when I write about them and through the sharing, I've encountered so many wonderful parents say they've gained from reading my blog and in return, whose comments and encouragement have enlightened me.

I recently discovered that I was ranked by Dreambox Learning, a US education provider, as one of the top eight education blogs. Wah, I'm so flattered! If it takes a village to raise a child, then I'm glad to have this community whom I can engage to help me be a better parent. To bless others and be blessed - what could be more fulfilling?

So here's to 2009, to happy parenting and happy kids!


Anonymous said...

Hi Monica. Keep up the good work on your blog, and thanks for sharing your parenting experiences.

Happy 2009!


monlim said...

Happy New Year to you too, LL!

Lilian said...

Phwoarrr, well done on the education blog ranking!

Resolutions ah, I don't usually make New Year ones. I think for me, it's an ongoing process, depending on how the pendulum swings; when it reaches too far right or left (ie, either too stressed or too relaxed), self-reflection automatically occurs. Right now, I know I'm too relaxed with Sean and too antsy with Brian. Not motivated to do anything different with Sean; and not sure if I'm capable of relaxing with Brian even if I resolve to (damn PSLE!)

monlim said...

Lilian: Damn PSLE is right! But if you're not planning to come back yet this year, Brian doesn't have to worry about it, right?

I'm thankful for one thing, Lesley-Anne found out she got great teachers this year for all her subjects. Thank God!!!

Lilian said...

We don't know when we're coming back; I suppose I could adopt a Que Sera Sera approach; unfortunately, I've never been one to leave things to chance.

For now, we are aiming for him to do his PSLE, but things could change between now and October 2009. I've found from past experiences that most of the planning I do turned out to be unnecessary cos of our frequent moves. Of course that hasn't stopped me from continuing to plan lah.

Thing is there's just too little information for returning overseas students, and so far, from what I've seen, PSLE is the most straight-forward and transparent method of gaining entry into secondary schools. There is now a centralised exam (SPERS) for returning overseas students, testing only Math and English, but MOE doesn't release results nor tell you how your child is benchmarked; there's also no past year papers. A friend's kid took the exam this year and was posted to really teruk neighbourhood schools; I'm wondering if they are placed in schools the same way homeschoolers are, ie posted to schools that have places left over after everyone else has chosen. With so much ambiguity, Brian might as well just study for one additional subject, ie Science. That's our thinking for now.

monlim said...

That sounds like a good plan, esp since the SPERS appears to be a hantam bolah approach! I think Brian will be able to master the PSLE topics anyway, it's just a matter of getting him used to the types of questions, which you can easily get thanks to, haha!

Singaporean mum will always plan one lah, being kiasu is in our genes... (oops, Malaysian too)

SueC. said...

Monica - You write an engaging, readable blog that I enjoy following. So I'm doubly apologetic for misspelling your name! Needless to say, I've corrected it.

Best to you and your family in this new year full of possibilities.

Sue Cummings
DreamBox Learning

Anonymous said...

Say Monica, can you recommend some good Science or Math online games for elementary level? Thx!!


monlim said...

YY: I asked Lesley-Anne, she says this one's quite good for basic maths and it's fun (very important to kids!!):, go to Maths Arcade. Or the Dreambox products look pretty fun? (hehe, helping them do a little promo...)

I don't know about Science online but when Lesley-Anne was much younger, I bought her a CDR of Schoolhouse Rock Science (and Maths) and it was very fun and interesting. It has games and covers topics like light, electricity, sound, etc. Not sure if you can still get them, but here's more info:

Sue: All the best to you too! Thanks again for the honour.

Anonymous said...



Alcovelet said...

Hey Monica, Congratulations, and Happy New Year!!

I certainly learnt a lot from your blog (aside from just generally liking your easy going writing style), so if they'd asked me, I would have voted for ya too!

In terms of New Year resolutions - I keep making 'em and breaking 'em! But they keep me sane and in the right direction, Yah, perhaps it's cos the resolutions have been too grand (like is that why I haven't stopped yelling?? Oops!).

But I do propose that we keep grounded and not too carried away by our Singapore equivalent of the Jones'. To Happy days ahead!!

bACk in GERMANY said...

congrats Mon!
Am so out of Internet since we moved back. If it hadn't been for this iPod touch and wireless connection at home, I'd be gone even longer from the cyberworld.
Ok gotta go back to my ironing chores.

monlim said...

Ad & Cindy: glad to have you both back! Thanks for being the backbone of this mums community, that's what keeps me going.

eunice said...

Congrats Monica on the ranking! Er... you want to teach Sean maths? Aiyo, am quite hopeless at it (and he's year 4 which is P3 in Sin).

Btw, Happy belated New Year and glad that LA has good teachers this year. Am sure she'll do well!

What about Andre?Hope he gets teachers that appreciate him.

monlim said...

Eunice: I never realised Sean was the same age as Andre! His teacher is new to the school but so far looks quite promising. She wrote a note to parents to say she believes in positive reinforcement. I'm praying hard he'll take to her!

eunice said...

Yes, Andre and Sean are the same age and I think quite similar in personality. That's why I empathise with Andre's not having teachers that appreciate him. Hope his new teacher will encourage his uniqueness.

monlim said...

Thanks for all the encouragement Eunice! I hope so too - so far Andre seems to like his teachers so we're off to a good start.

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