Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Parenting with Love - Counting down to Primary School

It has been almost 3 weeks since my last post. I have been tied up at work and on a few new 'projects' for our homeschool but there are also a lot of things have been on my mind too. With the munchkin entering into mainstream school in just a few months, a lot of doubts and worries clouded my mind. I believe very much in homeschooling but that would require me to take a step back from work and depend on a single source of income. Something that I am not prepared to do for the moment.

I do not like the academic drill and focus of the local system. While I understand the reasons for standardized tests, I feel that there are also many other areas which results and grades do not shed light on. I certainly feel that there is more to “life” than being textbook / worksheets smart. I rather have a child who enjoys discovering and is a keen learner than one who aces through rote and does not find joy in learning. I love my job and my colleagues so I cannot imagine how life will be where one has to go to school and yet dreading it daily.
When we homeschool, we do it at our own pace and at our own time, without having to worry if she is left ‘behind’ as the classes and activities can be tweaked according to her interests and her abilities. With public school, I will face the pressure and the competitive culture that Singapore is known for. Having a type ‘A’ personality, I worry that I get sucked into the whole Tiger Mum approach. I fear that I end up pushing my child. I fear that I will be one of those parents whose only mode of communication is to yell incessantly at the kid. Or worse, to yell at her for missing out on that half a mark on a paper. With each push and each yelling session, I worry that I will be a step removed from her, and from the bond that we have so preciously built up for the past few years.

Then I had a chat with someone from the Ministry recently and she shared something beautiful, and something wise with me.

On something beautiful: a businessman she met earlier in the week shared with her his ‘glorious’ 'successful' days where he had houses, penthouses and sports car aplenty. Unfortunately his business crashed during the 'dot com' era and though he managed to start up something again, it was never quite the same. His eldest child is getting married in a few months time and he told my friend that his greatest achievement is not how his business grew or how he managed to salvage the situation. His proudest moment instead is when his child said to him that she did not need any money from him for the wedding or renovation. But for him to keep the money for himself, for ‘old age’ she said. His greatest achievement lies in his children and how they have turned out, not what their results were.  
The wise sharing: my friend suggested for me to pen down on what sort of daughter I wish to see in 3 / 5 / 8 / 10 and 15 years down the road. Pen it down as a letter to her or as a journal entry for myself. "Read it again and you can then see what truly matters to you, as a parent," she said. 
In various blog entries, I have shared that I would consider my role as a mum, a successful one if my child is happy, healthy and is a compassionate person who also loves God. A year on and I still feel the same, and have the same thoughts. So yes, this will be my mantra and guiding light for the next 15 years to come. Hopefully I will still be able to remain as the fun, loving and supportive mum.


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