So this is how the story goes …
Last week, my friend posted on Facebook about the spelling test in both English and Chinese Language that his son is having at K2. For English, the spelling test starts from eight words in Term 1 to three sentences in Term 4. Even in Term 1, the eight words are not short words like one, two and three. Some of the examples are like ‘breakfast’ and ‘restaurant’. Wait, I haven’t talk about the Chinese spelling test yet!
Admittedly, I panicked a little when I read her post. It’s not because Edison is having a similar spelling test, but rather because he is NOT having any spelling test in school! I began to wonder if his school is missing out something important. Is spelling test a norm for kindergarten now? Oh, please tell me that it’s not.
Last year, I had my first attempt of doing some simple spelling tests with Edison at home, and it turned out pretty well. I stopped after a while, because I wanted to focus on his literacy skills instead. Spelling is more on memorization, and I think he can do it if he reads, writes and memorizes them every day.
With this being said, I think I’ve to restart our home spelling test since he isn’t having any at school.
The second panic came after I read this post about a Primary One English worksheet posted by a parent on Facebook. I nearly fell off my chair! Again, please don’t tell me that these are what our kids are supposed to know at Primary One level. I don’t think Edison can even understand the questions, not to mention the answering part of it.
Later on, I realized that these questions are not the typical stuffs learnt at school. They may be something drafted out by the teachers to identify gifted students. I immediately heaved a sigh of relief!
Then, the third panic attacked (real one!) when his Chinese teacher at school expressed her concern over his complete inability to speak in Chinese. So, this is a real issue and I acknowledged that. She suggested that we can enrol him with some Chinese enrichment or speech and drama classes, so that he can learn to speak in Chinese with confidence.
She also mentioned that it will be a huge problem if he is still unable to speak in Chinese when he goes to Primary One. I agree with her, and I can’t get away from this problem now. So last week, I was frantically searching for a Chinese enrichment class for him.
School A offered me their Chinese story-telling class which is aimed to cultivate interest and boost confidence in speaking Chinese Language at preschool level. It’s not very ‘academic’, so I thought it should be quite fun and interesting for him. The only concern is the location, which is quite far from our home.
School B suggested that we can put him at their K1 class first and start from the basic level, then gradually promote to K2 when he’s ready. Lastly, School C said that we should start with K2 class because he needs to start learning Han Yu Pin Yin this year. If we put him at K1 class, he will not be learning that.
According to School C, most kids have already mastered Han Yu Pin Yin by the time they enter Primary 1. Seriously, I thought that Han Yu Pin Yin is only taught from Primary 1 onwards. I was quite surprised to learn that kids these days have mastered it even before they enter P1.
Considering the location and class timing, we finally enrolled him with School C. “Welcome to the rat race!” I told myself. The overly-advanced and competitive nature of our education system has begun to slap hard on my face.
I can’t imagine the day when I have to prepare him for his PSLE, O’ Level, A’ Level, tertiary education and national service. And finally – to prepare him for life in the real world.
Ah, being a parent is so stressful!