When I heard the news that the swine flu has become pandemic, I turned to Kenneth and asked, "If it spreads and schools have to close, will that mean there's no PSLE? Then all the kids this year can have a free pass to sec. 1!"
See how deluded I've become? Well, rather than wait for that pipedream to turn into reality, here's a better suggestion: prepare your kids for the eventuality. And by prepare, I don't necessarily mean teach. I mean prepare them psychologically and emotionally and most importantly, support them.
The best form of empathy is to walk in the footsteps of the other person and that's what Lilian and I did. Well, Lilian did it first. She actually printed out the Nanyang Primary School p6 prelim math paper 2007 and DID the paper. Then she urged me to do the same, which I did, based on allocated time and everything.
Guess how we performed? I amassed a dismal score of 73/100. Even more mortifying, I made four careless mistakes (the thing I'm always nagging Lesley-Anne about!!) which cost me 8 valuable marks. (I had to mention this because I'd like to think that I could have scored over 80/100 which wouldn't be quite so embarrassing.) I'll let Lilian decide whether she wants to reveal her score but here's a hint: she performed even worse than I did LOL (sorry Lilian!!) Her son Brian, on the other hand, managed to score 82/100 and mind you, this is without having ever attended formal math lessons on most of the p6 topics! Brilliant lah, Lilian. Luckily he's the one sitting for the exam, not you, hehe.
I learnt plenty from this exercise, mostly that when you have a time crunch, it's extraordinarily difficult to think clearly and it's all too easy to make careless mistakes, especially when you have very complex questions with multiple steps. I didn't have time to check - I had the grand total of 3 minutes left for the last problem sum which didn't matter anyway because there was no way I could have solved it. 5 marks out the window.
It is a very stressful and draining process, even more so for our kids because they know how much is at stake. So today, I'm issuing a Math Challenge, especially to parents whose kids are taking the PSLE this year - walk in the footsteps of your child. Since Lilian and I took the Nanyang Primary School p6 prelim math paper 2007, this can be a benchmark (plus I'm curious to know how other parents will fare!) You can print out the paper here. Give yourself 2 hrs 15 mins, no breaks. I'm even ok with giving you a handicap since some of you might protest that you're rusty when it comes to maths formulas - you're allowed to refer to your kids' p6 math textbooks.
Nanyang Primary School is one of the local primary schools known to have the toughest maths papers, so don't be discouraged if you can't do some of the sums. But I guarantee you that after that exercise, you will gain a newfound respect for what our 12-year-olds have to go through. And when you understand better how it feels to be them, I'm sure you'll be better able to guide and coach them in their education journey.
Performing for Ghosts - Hungry Ghost month came & went. I don't miss the ashes flying about or watching out where I walk in case I trip over some offering. But I do look forward...
7 months ago