Monday, April 18, 2011

When is it truly enough?

I am writing this more of a reminder for myself than anything else. In Singapore, there is a very famous singlish term - Kia Su which is loosely translated as "scared to lose out". Hence, there is quite a bit of pressure as a parent to want to expose your child to as many things as possible lest, they "lose out".

When I first started homeschooling, it was because I did not really believe that the child can only get that sort of exposure from school and I firmly stand by that. Because I believe that no one would know the child better than the parent (I hope!) and also, if anything, being a FTWM, being able to homeschool my child at night allows me to bond with her too, no matter how little or how much we do. Ultimately, I want to make learning FUN for her, where we are able to look at clouds on a sunny day and hunt for animal faces, laugh over the re-enactment of classic fairy tales and rhymes etc. I also wanted her to develop the habit of inquring, to observe and to deduce. In short, I wanted her to have a positive experience on learning and to carry that positiveness and enthusiasm with her in her life.

And since we are doing so much during the weekdays, I would limit her weekends to play based activities and a sports related activity - swimming. I started with swimming as I wanted Dumpling to have this "survival" skill. Additionally, I thought to start her on it when she is young so she has no water phobia. So far, it seems like she is doing good and most importantly, is enjoying it as she develops her sense of confidence and coordination.

Along the way, she also showed interest in music just like many other children as well as drawing and dancing (ballet in particular). So I signed up for a trial on Saturday morning (since her swimming was in the PM). We did not start the day off on a good foot as I did not prepare her for it (she takes quite long to warm up to strangers) and mainly because she did not have a good sleep the night before. So, during the entire session, she did not go to the front of the class but rather, participate from where she was seated at times, while at other times, she would complain that she was tired.

Unfortunately for us, the school wanted a commitment on the same day if we intended to sign up. This did not work well for us especially when you have a cranky and overly tired child. I contemplated a lot because I was not sure if one session was enough to see if Dumpling enjoyed herself. I also took a step back and thought if it makes sense to send her for 2 classes in one day - would it not be too much? Though they were spread out (since one was in the morning and the other was in the afternoon) I contemplated over this point a lot.

On the one hand, I wanted her to be exposed to more things and have more fun but on the other, I did not want her to be overly tired and stressed out especially since she is all bout 2.5. So I took a moment to gather my thoughts. In the end, I decided to sit it out. She is still going for her weekly swimming sessions which she seems to enjoy loads (proudly declaring to me "teacher sam said I did an excellent job"). However, I still find myself wondering if I am depriving her of anything especially when I see my mates signing their child up for some many other stuff. This is where I will gather my thoughts to return to the basics of why I wanted to homeschool her - to also teach values such as "perserverance", "patience", etc.

When I first started sending her for swimming sessions, I did not intend for this to be yet another "term" activity where we will stop after a few terms. I spoke to her about it and the hubs and I also discussed with her on what will happen at the session etc. After the session, I also took a whole week to speak to her and gather her feedback and thoughts on the class before signing on. This was because I wanted to cultivate the value of "finishing up" on a task / a project which we started instead of just giving up halfway or developing a habit of switching from classes to classes without really trying to settle. I also reminded myself that her weekends are meant for playdates, play based / sports related activities and not to be piled on with too many "enrichment/language" classes, speech and drama, etc.

A few terms into swimming, I am proud to say that she was strong enough to kick herself out of the water and surfaced to take in a breath of air and her water confidence has increased tremendously. I still find myself wondering at times if I am doing enough for her and if we are doing the right thing by homeschooling. But then there will be moments such as the silly fun we had together playing "Sim Sam" says (similar to Simon) or making a mock school bus out of an old cardbox and getting just about everyone, including the family dogs, involved.

Here, Dumpling is creating windows...

Creating wheels and decorating her bus :) Great way to reinforce shapes and numbers


The family dog as one of her passengers. :)
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