Monday, September 10, 2012

Run-up to PSLE

The one-week school holidays just ended but if you ask Andre about it, he's likely to answer, "what school holidays??"

Can't blame him, really. He's had to attend supplementary classes in school for three days in addition to finishing the homework teachers have dished out. It's the final stretch to the PSLE (slightly over two weeks to the first paper, 5 days to the listening comprehension exams) and the school has been going at it in full force.

At home, I had a sudden surge of panic when we realised how close the PSLE was. I know there are parents who plan for this momentous event months in advance... we're not those parents. We're the "oh we still have time let's get some ice cream and have a movie night OMG PSLE IS IN 30 DAYS!!" kind of parents. And we wonder where our kids got their habit of procrastination from.

It's not that Andre hasn't been doing any revision. But while he has been ploughing through his fair share of exam papers, it's definitely not at the intensity of some other kids. In fact, when I compare what he has been doing with Lesley-Anne during her PSLE preparations three years ago, his is undoubtedly more relaxed. Back then, Lesley-Anne was doing as many as four exam papers (one for each subject) every day, in the run-up to PSLE. Whereas for Andre, I only recently started making him do one paper, at most one-and-a-half, a day.

Why the double standard? Perhaps one reason is that I got lazy. And tired. Hey, setting papers means somebody has to mark them and go through the mistakes. Guess who that lucky somebody is.

However, I also like to think that I'm tailoring the pace to each child's capacity. Lesley-Anne's tolerance level for gruelling, repetitive seatwork is way higher than Andre's. It has less to do with ability than personality.

I think we need to realise that even for something like revision, it's different strokes for different folks. Sure, practice makes perfect but for an active child like Andre, if I were to coerce him into spending hours at his desk doing paper after paper, I suspect at some point, diminishing returns would take place, ie instead of performing better, he would actually be so mentally drained that he would make more mistakes. Worst case scenario? Burn out.

So what I've been doing instead is making him do revision in short bursts of time, usually an hour at a go. In between these revision periods, he goes outside to get his daily dose of exercise - anything from badminton and basketball to swimming and table tennis, even mini ping pong!

Exercise clears his mind, helps him release his pent-up energy and gets him refreshed for more studying. And yes, he still watches tv daily although he has voluntarily given up computer games till after the exams.

I don't know if this is the best way of handling PSLE preparations, I just go on my gut feel. But for this past month (after the aforementioned panic attack), I've sort of adopted a que sera sera attitude and I thought I would write this note of encouragement to my friends and readers with PSLE kids this year.

You see, I figure that since I've been praying for a miraculous surge of scholarly brilliance in Andre for the past few years and it has yet to happen, it's unlikely to occur within the next three weeks.

Too often, we give ourselves ulcers over things that we can do absolutely nothing about (I'm extremely guilty of this). We can only do what we think is right and trust that God knows best. He really does. For now, we can barely look past the dreaded exams whereas God has already planned our children's entire education journey, their career path, every step to their last days on earth. Funny how relinquishing control to God is often the hardest thing to do, yet it is also the easiest.

I'm just thankful that Andre has shown a remarkably good attitude towards his revisions, and that he still eats well and sleeps well. Beyond that, we're leaving the rest to God.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" - Jeremiah 29:11

14 comments:

Andy Ang said...

great insights. i have 3 young kids but part timing as tutor for ages.p6 students coached have stress to themselves and tutors and parents alike.
enjoyed your article. best wishes to Andre.My male students similarly exhibit different traits to female.Great observation and tweaking of process.
Shalom and blessed week ahead.Cheers

Lilian said...

"I'm just thankful that Andre has shown a remarkably good attitude towards his revisions, and that he still eats well and sleeps well. Beyond that, we're leaving the rest to God."

And that is what we want to see in our kids, isn't it? Good attitude, good health. Some of my friends' kids exhibit symptoms like migraine, ulcers, eczema during PSLE year. All the best Andre, I'll be praying hard for you! And Mon, I hope you've been eating and sleeping as well as Andre has hahah.

monlim said...

Andy: Thanks for the encouragement!
Lilian: Haha, he's definitely sleeping and eating better than I am! Thanks so much for your consistent support, appreciate all your prayers :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Monica,
It's a great method to have Andre study and rest/play on and off. Not all kids (or adults) can tahan sitting down and mugging at a stretch.

Last lap to PSLE..
All the best!

Grace

monlim said...

Thanks, Grace!

Anonymous said...

As a father of a P3, your article has inspired me to make battle plans for the big fight with the dreaded PSLE monster. December school holidays? What holidays?

Jo Frets said...

Thank you for helping me see the light to being a 'relax bo chap mom', Monica. hahaha. I was more stressed out with my first one too who seemed to have more willpower. Each child is diff and like u said, 'Different strokes for diff folks'. Indeed. I still want my boy to love me at the end of PSLE, so for now, I'm just trying to be his pillar of support..food, emotional, bribes... ;D

monlim said...

Jo: lol@bribes! Doesn't work for Andre as he is king of instant gratification. It's all gonna be over real soon - let's just help our kids get over this hurdle in one piece!

NYMacMom w 3 said...

cant help but LOL when I read this:

..You see, I figure that since I've been praying for a miraculous surge of scholarly brilliance in Andre for the past few years and it has yet to happen, it's unlikely to occur within the next three weeks.

but, yes, thank you for the reminder..
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" - Jeremiah 29:11

Wishing your little A the very best in what GOD had planned for him. Celebrate, celebrate before the event and after the event!! PSLE is also a 'coming of age' event in Singapore...

xoxo
Sarah

monlim said...

Sarah: Not sure about after the event but definitely, mega celebration after!!

Anonymous said...

All the best to Andre for his PSLE exams!

Eat well, sleep well, play well.

qx

monlim said...

Thanks QX!!

Sock said...

A great post with relevance beyond PSLE and exams. We should really learn to trust God a whole lot more. All the best to Andre.

Anonymous said...

came across this post while googling for PSLE-related stuff as my son will be taking the PSLE in 2 weeks!

Most of the people I know who have p6 kids are busy drilling them, giving them papers to do, taking leave to revise with their kids, but life goes on as normal for our family. I must admit i panicked a bit this morning and was tempted to chuck him some papers to do while i went to work.

But, thankfully, I remembered that all our lives, life has been normal before exams, and my son has always done well enough to go into the top classes- and therefore, I should not panic. What works for someone else, may not work for us.

It is comforting to read your post, to know that I am not alone in believing that some measure of balance can only be good for the child.

Thanks, as always, for your insight!

M

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...