Tiger Mum Awakened?

So now that the worrying about him getting adjusted to kindergarten life is dispensed with, I’m back to wondering how I can best teach him so he doesn’t fall behind his peers academically in Singapore. We have been focusing a lot on his motor skills and also Chinese during the summer. We also worked on his handwriting a little when he practices writing some Chinese words. His control of the crayon/ markers have improved a lot. At least now he can form letters that are the size of maybe font 100 as opposed to font 250.

Still, compared to the copious amounts of writing, spelling, 听写 (Chinese spelling), math and English worksheets that the kindergarteners have completed in Singapore, he would have a hard time catching up especially since he would be one of the youngest in his class and he would only have completed half a year of kindergarten by the time Primary 1 starts over there.

Then the tiger mum in me gives a little growl as I wonder if I have not done enough to prepare him academically. I noticed that I am reluctant to introduce things that seem boring to him i.e. those that are not immediately fun and exciting. Firstly because it takes effort to plan the lessons and this summer, I had my hands full just getting as much Chinese in him as I can. Especially for Chinese, I’ve been very careful to keep things short and manageable because I was worried that I would bore him and make him hate the subject forever. On the other hand, because I am observing his reactions carefully and I rarely force him to continue when he is antsy, it should be fine. I would be doing him a great disservice if I let him attend school to find out that he is unable to understand the lessons while his peers have a relatively easy time of it.

I was probably also discouraged by a few flops when I tried introducing some new concepts to him. He probably wasn’t interested because he wasn’t ready for it (it was about summing to 8,9 and 10) and I just needed to take a step back and building up from basics. I am not a trained teacher after all.

I’ve only just begun to experiment experimenting with teaching. Right now, I’m training my skill in teaching as much as he is learning to learn. From the hours we’ve spent on Chinese, I’ve picked up a few tricks so we can get some extra schooling done in whatever pockets of time we have. One key thing is to have multiple short sessions throughout the day (5-10 minute blocks for now) instead of expecting him to sit down for a whole hour. I’ve also been using the Montessori 3 period method to help him remember new words which focuses on Introduction, Recognition and finally Recall.

I hope to fit in one or two sessions of studying every weekday and maybe 4-5 sessions every weekend so we can work on the skills he needs to survive Singapore Primary school if we decide we are going back soon. Since I have extra time during the day, I could use that to plan my weekly lessons. We’ll probably focus on his handwriting, math and Chinese for now. He has been practicing reading in English on his own and we regularly point out words in books etc. The rest of our time will be for books and free play. I’m still hoping to get him at least 1 hour of outdoor time a day. He has two recesses in school so that helps to fulfill most of that. It looks like I have a busy time ahead and I’m looking forward to the challenge 😀

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