Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Primary One: And we survived 2 Terms!

Term one and two ended in the blink of an eye and before I knew it, it was already the June holidays. The first month of school was spent settling down in her new school and new class. I thought that she settled down beautifully while I, on the other hand, was feeling my way around. :p 
A "whatsapp" group was set up and I also blogged about the 6 things I learnt about life in Primary School.

Dumpling was made Class Monitor in Term 1 and I feel that helped her assimilate into formal school faster as she had to quickly step up and learn to lead, to guide, to assist and she certainly seems to know her way around school faster, better.

Dumpling’s school uses the Stellar system for English and adopts a holistic approach where there are ‘assessments’ but not all are graded. She does not have any SA till Primary 2.  What I did not realise is that while technically there are no “exams”, there were mini tests across each term usually starting from Week 5. Some weeks Dumpling could have up to 3 tests – including a Listening Comprehension assessment.

All these results are then input into the system and marks are computed via the system. For Dumpling’s school, the weightage for Term 2’s results accounts for 20% of the whole year, Term 3 would be 30% and Term 4, 50%. The stream of mini tests really requires a lot of stamina and during some weeks, ting xie and spelling are ongoing too. So is it hard? Not really. But is it tedious? Yes it can be. But we have done good so far and here’s sharing 5 tips to survive Term 2!

1) Consistency is the key

As a working mum blogger, my plate is full. Instead of doing last minute revisions, I read with the kiddo almost daily and I go through her school work to look through the mistakes she made.
I am not a big fan of assessment books but I do have some for the kiddo to work on randomly as check points. This has worked well for us so far without having the need to do the last minute dash for any school assessments.

2) Homework

The kiddo does have homework from school. What I do is to encourage her to work on it after lunch (we use a chart too which you can see at the end of the post) and so far, this format has worked well for us. When she is done, she takes a short nap and then she gets to read / play / draw thereafter. 

3) Extending the Fun and Learning from Home

Being a FTWM and a former homeschooling mum, I still very much like to read and learn with the kiddo. My focus is to continue to fuel her love for reading and learning as I feel that sometimes school work and all those worksheets can be a tad dry. 

So after work, I would lead her through a range of literature-based activities where we also balance it out with her violin practice and some craft work. We would walk our dogs and head to the playground where she has a few rounds at the slides too. 

For "literature work", we have done classics like King Arthur, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, etc.where we would read and discuss the words / phrases mentioned, extend and read up more on some of relevant topics / things mentioned in the book. We also craft, read Chinese stories, work on writing of simple Chinese sentences as well as extend our learning with some of the subscription boxes that I have ordered from the States. (Reviews on these coming soon, I promise!)

The boxes have been great for her to attempt on her own and at the same time, acquire some General Knowledge. Some of the things learnt have shone through in her essays as well as class discussions. 

4) Spelling and Ting Xie

We are quite blessed because Dumpling is quite comfortable linguistically so we do not have to do a lot of work for spelling and ting xie. When we are really stretched for time, I will split up the list into 2 days. Short bursts of such “revision” / rote learning works better for most children than having to plow through. We received the list for Term 3 before the June holidays and there will be passages for dictation, so my suggestion is to split up the list if you have to. 

5) Keeping it organized

To set expectations, I put up a chart where it outlines the things which she is supposed to finish on a daily basis. This has kept us focused and helped us manage our time too!

We do not do all the things listed in the chart but about 3 daily. The idea is not to cramp the evenings but to have a 'goal' in mind so that it leaves time for dog walks, playground / craft. :)

If you have a K2 child going to P1, I would suggest to leave your child to finish 1/2 page of activities and slowly build up to 1 then to 2 - 3 pages on his / her own. If he/she is able to attempt them with minimal supervision, then he/she can finish his/her homework when you are not at home (e.g. working / have to run errands) and this would save you some precious time too. :) Good luck!

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